Jimmy Collins (March 8, 1932 – May 17, 2021)
James Eli Luther Collins was born in Glace Bay and passed away at the age of 89 at Harbourstone Retirement Home as a consequence of advanced dementia.
Jimmy lived an extraordinarily full life. After leaving school he cared for the pit ponies in one of the Glace Bay mines. This led to a career as a miner which he abruptly terminated when operating a Dosco Miner at the coal face and escaped a cave in within seconds. He returned to the surface, turned in his number and shortly thereafter applied to the Glace Bay Police where he served with distinction as sergeant for many years. His credentials - he knew the miners and did not drink.
In earlier years he kept horses near the family home on Collins Street in Glace Bay. This combined with his pit pony experience led him to have a parallel career in harness racing where he flourished. As a shrewd horsemen, he acquired and trained a colt by the name of Borderview Roy which kept winning harness races throughout the Maritimes. This enabled him to buy a farm, build an official sized half mile track and construct a large white barn near Phalen Road in Glace Bay - a landmark to this day.
Jimmy was renowned for training mediocre horses and bringing them to the winner’s circle as well as having the most impeccable barns and superbly groomed horses. He was a member of the US Trotting Association, Standard Bred Association of Canada, and the Cape Breton Horsemen’s Association. Induction into the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame is also part of his horse racing legacy.
Jimmy was predeceased by his parents, Eli and Sarah Collins, and later by his wife Norberta Evelyn “Bubs” Collins (nee Weir) and leaves behind his two loving daughters, Deborah and Sharon, and stepson David Jones as well as ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
Jimmy will be missed. There are many in the community who have stories how he, as a policeman and a horseman, had a positive influence on their lives. The stories went both ways, Jimmy could hold an audience all evening with his tales drawn from his mining days, police work and harness racing.
The family wishes to offer their profound thanks to the staff at Harbourstone where the care was exemplary to the very end.
A memorial service will be held at a later date when Covid restrictions are lifted. This will be announced in the Cape Breton Post as well as on the V.J. McGillivray web site.
For those wishing to donate, both the Diabetes Association of Canada and the Alzheimer Association of Canada would welcome this gesture as a tribute to Jimmy.
On line condolences to the family can be expressed through the V.J. McGillivray Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Glace Bay: www.vjmcgillivray.ca