Lyle Collins is being remembered as a man who loved to work with his hands, being outdoors, and, he really loved the Pere Marquette Township Fire Department.

The former longtime and initial member of the Pere Marquette Township Fire Department died Monday at the age of 78 after a long battle with cancer.

Collins joined the department in 1976, and after four years, was named the department’s chief, a position he held for 32 years. He retired as the chief in 2012, but still served as a firefighter when he could.

“He was very dedicated to the fire service,” said Pere Marquette Township Fire Chief Larry Gaylord, who was the assistant under Collins before taking over. “He impressed a lot of people as being a grouchy, old guy. But when you got to know him, he was very caring about people and the community. That was his way of talking and acting.

“Once you got to know him, he basically sounded grumpy. If he didn’t, you knew he wasn’t happy.”

Collins owned and operated James Tire and Service, and his work with and knowledge of trucks allowed him to help not only maintain the trucks and vehicles for the department, but make sure trucks around the area could remain up and running.

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The Managing Editor for the Ludington Daily News since June 2018 and on the staff since Oct. 2011, taking over for legendary Lloyd Wallace. Previously with The Chippewa Herald in Chippewa Falls, Wis., and the Tuscola County Advertiser in Caro.