Ralph Porter Collins, emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, died on March 9 after a short illness.
He was born in Alpena, Mich. on Nov. 26, 1927 to Ralph Victor Collins and Julia Smart Collins; grew up in Alpena, Mich.; and graduated from Alpena High School in 1945. He attended Michigan State University for one year, before serving in the U.S. Army as a medical technician for one year. After resuming his studies at Michigan State University, he obtained a BS, MS, and in 1957 a Ph.D. in botany and plant pathology.
In 1957, he began his career at the University of Connecticut in Storrs as an instructor in botany. He retired from UConn in 1989 as a full professor and head of the botany section. After leaving UConn, Collins took a research position with the National Cancer Institute as an AIDS Expert in the Division of Cancer Treatment. He retired from that post in 2001.
During his retirement, Collins was able to concentrate on reading and gardening. He was particularly interested in the Civil War and World War II.
Collins is survived by his wife, Lesley S. Daniels Collins; his daughter and grandson, Carol L. Collins and Nolan Pieper; his son, Blair A. Collins; his first wife and mother of his children, Helen J. Collins of Storrs; and his stepson, David, and his family.