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Jim Collins, WWII Navy Veteran November 2019

World War II veteran has three decades of history in Hendricks County

Compiled by Catherine Myers

For more than three decades Jim Collins has lived, volunteered and worked in and around Hendricks County.

The Plainfield resident is a proud Navy veteran and served during World War II from 1943-1946.

He was born in Nebraska December 1924 where is mother was from, and his dad came from Hendricks County. After the Great Depression, his family moved to Indiana in 1934, and he graduated from Ben Davis in 1943 in full Navy uniform.

After his military service, he worked as an Indiana State Department of Health food and drug inspector for 17 years and was the first inspector of the historic Oasis Diner in Plainfield. He followed that with a stint with Blue Cross Blue Shield as a health planner 20 years. When he retired in 1988, Collins obtained a Real Estate license.

He is also a charter member of the Avon Rotary, where he’s been a member since 1989.
While the nation recognizes veterans on Veterans Day Nov. 11, we also want to honor and thank Collins and all of those who serve, have served and will serve the United States of America.

What do you consider your greatest virtue? Persistence, finally able to achieve ability to draw and paint with the help of art classes.
What do you most deplore in others? People that are phony and put on airs.

What do you like most about living in Hendricks County? The beautiful thing about Plainfield is it is a growing, small community, but you have the foresight and wisdom of town council in development. You can drive in town with no traffic jams and have everything you want. It is a really nice community.

If you had to live elsewhere than in Hendricks County, where would it be? Every state west of Nevada. California promoted that it is great for retired individuals, but there is no place other than Indiana that I want to live. I have traveled all over Indiana, and this is where I’m comfortable.

If you could begin life over, what would you change? I would remember all my bad mistakes in this life and correct them in my next life. I would do a better job at talking and dealing with people.

If money were no issue, how would you spend it? Fortunately, I have a good pension plan invested. I give small amounts of money to various charities. Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue is my favorite.

What makes you happiest? Having an enjoyable dinner with good friends and good conversation.

What is your favorite vacation spot? I like to go to Ft. Myers, Fla. My youngest son lives there.

What do you do with idle time? I am an avid reader. I go to the public library and check out three books each week. I keep a record of everything I read. I’m hooked on “Young and the Restless” soap opera and “The Big Bang Theory.” Love to watch the golf tournaments on the weekend.

What is it that makes you angry? Our government today is treating American Indians on reservations so poorly.

What do you do to escape from reality? Face the fact I have a short time left. I plan to be cremated then have an Irish wake at Charbonos with free beer, wine, pizza, and all my friends are invited if I have any left. I’m hoping there will be a celebration of life.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Enjoying all of my friends. I enjoy every day and try to do good.

Which living person in Hendricks County do you most admire? Dr. Bob Sexton. I admire all of his work with cancer patients and his philanthropy and all his involvement with art in Brown County. Remarkable gentleman!

What is the quality you most like in a man? Honesty and commitment to his responsibilities in life, especially to his wife, children or job.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? I appreciate the beauty in women and honesty in their approach to life.

What is your greatest extravagance? Going to all of the most expensive restaurants. I like to be one of the first customers when they open.

What are your fears, phobias? White sharks snakes and alligators.

What has been the happiest time of your life? My years in the Navy as an 18-year-old, the excitement of traveling around the world on ships, being in a third world country. The Navy helped me get to go to college.

Which talent would you most like to possess? I would like to be able to speak several foreign languages and play a musical instrument. I took German and French in college. There is an old German saying, “We get too soon old and too late smart.”

What do you most value in your friends? The ease in which we share and communicate ideas and stories.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? Ronald Reagan

What is your greatest regret? I made some serious mistakes and hoped I’d learned something as I went along but kept making the same mistakes.

What tenet do you live by? Exit this world with grace.

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