Frank Collins was born in Toledo on May 3, 1870. Although he began his education at Old Erie School, he was unable to finish his studies because he was forced to find work when his father died. Frank took advantage of the local canal system and found employment collecting tolls from boats as they came out of the canals to dock at the foot of Madison Avenue. In his early years, Collins also acted as a "snare drummer" in torchlight parades and worked for the National Supply Company.
Frank finally found success in 1903 when he founded and served as the President of the Pipe Threading Machine Company. He was a member of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association and a liquidator of the old Commercial-Guardian Savings Bank and Trust Company. Frank was also identified with The Toledo Hospital. He served as chairman of the building board when the new structure was constructed near Ottawa Park. Collins later named Toledo Hospital as a beneficiary in his will. The hospital received approximately $2 million of his estimated $3,306,497 estate.The Collins family included Florence Fisk whom Collins married on February 11, 1896, as well as a half-brother and half-sister. Frank and Florence occupied the house that Florence had lived in since she was five years old. They used some of their wealth to buy and operate a pleasure yacht, the "Sultona," in the 1890's. After investing in Liberty Bonds the Collinss became involved in a confrontation with the government. The Collinss disagreed with the government's gold policy in 1935-36 and in association with Alton C. Dustin filed suit to test the constitutionality of that policy. They had hoped to force the government to redeem interest payments due on Liberty Bonds in gold, but their court case was unsuccessful when Federal Judge Paul Jones ruled against them.
Florence was born on January 4, 1872 and from her youth was actively involved in charitable work. She was a member of the Collingwood Avenue Presbyterian Church and led a fundraising drive for $110,000 which was to provide for a new church. During the Depression Florence and a number of friends organized the Child Benefit Association which supplied Toledo's needy school children with clothing. It was run from her basement which was converted into a large sewing room. The program was eventually taken over by the Board of Education.
She was a devoted worker for the Red Cross. When World War I came, Florence and Mrs. Sinclair Walbridge were in charge of Toledo's Red Cross headquarters. Almost twenty years after the war she was again active in local affairs by helping the victims of a flood on the Ohio River.
Frank Collins, a long time cancer sufferer, died in February, 1938 and is buried at Historic Woodlawn Cemetery. Florence Collins lived another ten weeks after Frank died. On April 23, 1938, Florence Collins died in her childhood home at the age of 66.[Toledo Biography Scrapbook (cola-colw), Local History Collection, Toledo/Lucas County Public Library. Toledo Times, 13 February 1938. News Bee, 12 February 1938 and 18 February 1938.]
The Collins family mausoleum
(Photography of Woodlawn Cemetery by Josef Schneider.)