Laurence E. Collin, age 90, of Isanti died September 15, 2010 at The Villages of North Branch. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday, September 21st at Faith Lutheran Church in Isanti with Rev. Clell Bone officiating. A visitation will be held from 4:00 – 8:00 P.M. Monday, September 20th at Strike Funeral Home – Isanti Chapel. Visitation also one hour prior to the service Tuesday at the church. Interment will be in Athens Lutheran Cemetery.
Laurence Elof Collin was born October 29, 1919 at University Hospital in Minneapolis to Martin and Hanna (Olson) Colin. He lived on his family’s 280 acre farm almost his entire life. His mother was widowed when he was eight. Family finances were precarious in the 1920s; the boy learned good stewardship at an early age. Countless loads of potatoes they raised were hauled to the Isanti potato starch factory, and he was a frequent passenger. He attended rural school District #20.
In 1937 Collin joined the Civilian Conservation Corps. For one year he lived at the CCC camp in Bena, Minn. In 1941 the Collins bought a sawmill and began a lumber business. They sawed a total of 12 million board feet. Collin sawed all the lumber for the comfortable home he and Edna built in 1949. He eagerly embraced new technology, and was one of the first in the area to purchase a chain saw.
Childhood sweethearts Edna (Erickson) and Laurence were married Oct. 29, 1944 at Faith Lutheran Church in Isanti. Both had fond memories of their Sunday School days when the congregation was called Athens Lutheran Church. The congregation moved to Isanti in the early 1930s after fire destroyed the rural church. They were life-long members.
Farming and lumbering were the family’s principal sources of income. Eventually they added honey production. Laurence and Edna enjoyed honoring their Swedish heritage. Both spoke fluent Swedish; they made six trips to the land of their forefathers. The hospitable couple entertained dozens of Swedish guests over the years.
Laurence’s accomplishments and honors include serving as Athens Town Board clerk for 50 consecutive years. The Board publicly recognized him Jan. 20, 2002 when they celebrated Laurence Collin Day at the township hall. In 1998 the Board dedicated Collin Park in Athens Township as a permanent reminder of his life-long commitment to land preservation. He also served on the East Central Regional Development Committee, Cambridge-Isanti School Board, Isanti County Soil and Water Board, Governor’s Council on Rural Development, Isanti County Planning Commission, Isanti County ASCS Board and Ag in the Classroom Committee.
Good stewardship of land and resources was the foundation of his philosophy. He acquired 31 impressive awards over the years including being named Minnesota Township Leader of the Year at a 1996 banquet in Washington, DC. They don’t make farm land anymore, he said. Laurence Collin was dedicated to the appreciation and preservation of this precious resource.
Laurence E. Collin died September 15, 2010 at The Villages of North Branch at the age of 90 years, 10 months and 17 days. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Edna; daughter, Marie (Mary) Mishler-Hubonette; son, David; and six siblings, Arthur, Frank, Carie, Amy, Hedvig and Martha.
Laurence will be lovingly remembered by his daughter, Carol (Michael) Kruse of Isanti and family; many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, other relatives and friends.