William J. Collins, Sr.
William J. Collins, Sr., 79, a longtime resident of the city’s Belvidere section, died Sunday, July 27 at his home, surrounded by his loving family and dear friends after an extended illness. He was the husband of the late Patricia J. (Lynch) Collins, who passed away in 2000.
Bill was the long time and popular Superintendent-Director of Greater Lowell Technical High School for 23 years, retiring in July 1999.
Born in Cambridge on November 26, 1934, a son of the late Cornelius and the late Kathleen (Ryan) Collins, he was a lifelong communicant of the Immaculate Conception Church, where he founded and organized the annual liturgy for cancer in honor of Saint Peregrine. In 2004, Bill was honored as a Distinguished Graduate by the Immaculate Conception School.
A graduate of the Immaculate Conception Grammar School, he went on to graduate high school from Keith Academy in 1952. Bill graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1956, followed by a Master’s degree in Education from Fitchburg State College in 1960.
He was also a veteran of the Massachusetts Army National Guard with the rank of sergeant.
Bill was a teacher and guidance counselor at the Lowell Trade School for many years before moving on to the Greater Lowell Regional Vocational Technical School (now Greater Lowell Technical High School) when it opened in 1974, becoming its Superintendent-Director two years later. He also worked for Community Teamwork, Inc.
Active and involved in many educational, community, and business groups, he was a member of the MA Association of School Superintendents, MA Vocational Association, Retired Educators of MA, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Merrimack Education Center, Lowell Catholic High School Board of Trustees, Past President of Merrimack Valley Association of School Superintendents, MA Association of Vocational School Administrators, Governing Board – Lowell General Hospital, and Trustee – Lowell 5 Cent Savings Bank, and Lowell Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. In 2012 he received the Bishop McNamara Award from Lowell Catholic High School for his support of Catholic Secondary Education.
Bill enjoyed travelling the world, spending his winters in Florida. His grandchildren were the light of his life and he enjoyed attending their many sporting events and other activities, including graduations. Bill loved dining out, and was a lifelong fan of the Red Sox.
He is survived by his three children, Eileen M. Dufour and her husband Joseph of Dracut, William J. Collins, Jr. and his wife Beverly of Tyngsboro, and Martha A. Armstrong, with whom he resided, of Lowell; seven grandchildren, J. Paul Dufour III, Patrick J. Dufour, Matthew J. Dufour, William J. Collins III, Rachel M. Collins, Shaleigh P. Armstrong, Kevin J. Armstrong; and his sister Marie A. O’Connor of Danvers; and many nieces and nephews.
Bill is also survived by Joan Stackpole, his dear friend and companion of many years.
He was the brother of the late Cornelius B. Collins who died in 1990 and the brother-in-law of the late Richard T. O’Connor who died in 1999.
Friends may call at the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME 276 PAWTUCKET ST. at Fletcher from 3 to 8 P.M. Thursday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass to be celebrated Friday morning at the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION CHURCH (Lower Church) at 10 o’clock. Burial at St. Mary Cemetery in No. Tewksbury. E-condolences/directions at odonnellfuneralhome.com. Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to Lowell General Hospital Cancer Center, c/o Philanthropy Office, 295 Varnum Ave., Lowell, MA 01854. Arrangements by Funeral Directors James F. O’Donnell, Jr. and John W. Crane (978 or 866) 458-8768.
Francis A. “Frank” Connor
Francis A. “Frank” Connor, 66, of North Chelmsford, but formerly of Lowell, died Friday July 25th at his home surrounded by his loving family.
He was the loving husband of Patricia M. (Noble) Connor with whom he recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary on July 16, 2014 and with whom he shared a vacation home in Punta Gorda, Florida for many years.
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, July 25, 1948, the son of the late William F. and the late Agnes M. (Tully) Connor, Sr., he attended Lowell schools and was a graduate of the Lowell Trade School (nka Greater Lowell Vocational Technical High School) in 1968.
A craftsman by trade, Frank was a carpenter for his entire career and was a proud member of Carpenters Union, Local 111 in Lowell where he was a member for over 45 years.
Beloved by his family and friends, he enjoyed using his skills helping others with their renovations and projects. However his most cherished times, were spent with his wife, children and grandchildren.
Besides his wife, Frank is survived by two daughters Elizabeth E. “Beth” Ducharme and her husband Justin of Westford and Abigail A. “Abi” Rojas and her husband David of Worcester; a son Francis A. “Frank” Connor, Jr. and his wife Katy of Woodland Park, CO; six grandchildren Brooke and Hadley Ducharme of Westford and David Rojas, Jr., and Angelina, Isabella and Alexander Rojas all of Worcester; two sisters Dorothy Bowles and her husband Brian of Arlington and Kathleen “Kate” Brown and her husband Douglas of Seekonk; his in laws Candace T. (Callahan) Connor of Chelmsford and William Noble and his wife Geri-Lyn of New Jersey; and many nieces and nephews.
He was the brother of the late William F. Connor, Jr. and grand uncle of the late McLean P. “Mac” Connor.
Friends may call at the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME 276 PAWTUCKET ST. at Fletcher from 4 to 8 P.M. Monday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Service Tuesday morning at the Funeral Home at 10 o’clock. Committal services will be private. E-condolences/directions at odonnellfuneralhome.com. Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to Habitat for Humanity, 124 Main St., # B, Westford, MA 01886. Arrangements by Funeral Directors James F. O’Donnell, Jr. and John W. Crane (978 or 866) 458-8768.
Frank A. Brox
Frank A. Brox, 101, died peacefully on July 24, at his home in Chelmsford. He is survived by his wife Eleanor, (Kelly), to whom he was married for 65 years.
Born on January 23, 1913 on Brox Farm in Dracut, he was the son of Charles and Margaret (Kasouf) Brox. He attended Dracut schools and was a graduate of Lawrence High School. He went on to graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (then Mass State College) in 1938. While at university, he served in the ROTC Cavalry as a cadet and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Cavalry Reserve upon graduation.
Prior to the outbreak of World War II, he taught biology, history, and civics at Dracut High School.
During the War, he attended the Command and General Staff College in Washington D.C., trained horseback cavalry troops at Fort Riley Kansas, and after the Japanese surrender, served in Japan as a Counter Intelligence officer in the Counter Intelligence Corp. After leaving active duty in 1946, he served in the US Army Reserve until 1973, where as colonel, he was Commanding Officer of the 357th Civil Affairs Unit, and for which he received the Congressional Legion of Merit.
In civilian life, he was vice president of George Brox Inc. (now Brox Industries), a paving and construction materials company started by his brother in 1947. He retired in 1998.
In addition to his wife, he leaves two daughters Mary Brox and her husband Raj Prasad of Chelmsford, and Andrea Brox and her husband John McCarthy of Concord, a grandson John Brox McCarthy, also of Concord, a brother, Raymond, and his wife Dorothea, of Dracut, as well as many nieces and nephews.
He is predeceased by his sisters Adele and Bertha Brox, and brothers, Joseph, George, John,
Stanley, and Albert.
There will be no calling hours. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass to be celebrated Tuesday morning at ST. MARY CHURCH in CHELMSFORD at 11 o’clock. Burial of his ashes will follow at St. Patrick Cemetery. E-condolences/directions at odonnellfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the National Kidney Foundation of NE, 85 Astor Ave, Suite 2, Norwood, MA 02062 or The Wounded Warrior Project. 4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300, Jacksonville, Florida 32256. Arrangements by the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME – LOWELL. (978 OR 866) 458-8768
Michael L. “Mr. Sok” Sokolowski
1940 – 2014
Michael L. “Mr. Sok” Sokolowski, 73, of Nashua, N.H., teacher of English and Dramatic Arts for forty years at Lowell High School and two years at Spring Street Junior High School in Nashua, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer July 19, 2014. He was the beloved husband of Julia (Papadimitriou) Sokolowski with whom he celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on April 28th of this year.
He was born on November 16, 1940 in Plainfield, Connecticut where his father ran the town’s movie theater. Eventually, his family moved to Lowell, Massachusetts when Edward Sr., his father, accepted an offer to manage the Capitol and Royal Theaters as well as the Park and Colonial Theaters in Nashua. Michael often proudly remarked that he was born on the balconies of the theaters and that the movies were his neighborhood.
Growing up in Lowell, Michael attended the Dover St. School, Morey School and Bartlett Junior High. He graduated from Lowell High School in 1958 and from Merrimack College in 1963 where he majored in English and Philosophy. His educational background included courses taken at Harvard Extension and Emerson College.
Fondly known as Mr. Sok, Michael was highly regarded by his students because he not only stressed the basics but also engaged them on a personal level. His skill in reaching out to his students rested, as one student put it, on his “gift of talk”.
As a Drama Teacher, he, along with Doug Townsend, Musical Director, brought Broadway to Lowell.
Michael frequently quoted Larry Bird’s concept of success – “you’ve got to take it to another level”. Mr. Sok did just that.
In addition to his wife Julia, Michael is survived by two sisters-in-law and their husbands; his brother Edward W. Sokolowski, Jr. and his wife Carol; and numerous nieces and nephews and their children.
Friends may call at the O’DONNELL FUNERAL HOME 276 PAWTUCKET ST. at Fletcher from 4 to 8 P.M. Wednesday. Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Funeral Mass to be celebrated Thursday morning at the Holy Trinity Parish, 340 High Street in Lowell at 11 o’clock. Burial to follow in Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashua. E-condolences/directions at www.odonnellfuneralhome.com. Those wishing may make contributions in his memory to the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St, Framingham, MA 01701 or the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312. For comments of appreciation of a former student, please visit www.hgazette.com’s Mike Veves’ Every kid needs his own Mr. Sok . Arrangements by Funeral Directors James F. O’Donnell, Jr. and John W. Crane (978 or 866) 458-8768.