Monk Collentine, age 94, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at his residence. Monk was born on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1922 in Madison, Wisconsin. Being St. Patrick’s Day in the month of St. Joseph, his godparents, Ansel and Catherine Groshong, thought he should be named Joseph Patrick. Monk’s Irish-influenced sense of humor consistently brought a smile to all he met.
Family was most important to Monk. His parents were Arthur O. Collentine and Anna Blotz Collentine. He was the fourth of five siblings: Arthur Jr. (Killer), Dorothy, John T. (Red) and Barbara Ann. In his youth, he played on numerous hockey teams with his three brothers. He spent his school years in Madison and was in his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He joined the Marine Corps and in 1943 was sent to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for further training and schooling. He spent three semesters there and played on the second string football team. He scrimmaged against the varsity team that included Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch.
Monk was called up and served active duty in Camp Lejeune, Quantico, and Camp Pendleton before being stationed in Hawaii awaiting the invasion of Japan. Fortunately, that invasion never took place and after being honorably discharged from the Marines in 1946, he went back to the University of Wisconsin to finish his degree. It was there that Monk met the love of his life, Sheila Nevin on a blind date in March 1947. They were married on October 30, 1948.
In January, 1951, Monk was called up to serve the Marines in the Korean War. He spent time being trained and training soldiers in the operation of anti-aircraft guns until his release in July 1952 when he returned to his adopted and much loved city of Racine. Once home, he worked for Nevin Grocery Company for eight years and then had a long career selling insurance with Miller Brothers and Johnson Insurance agencies. He was also an active member of Kiwanis for many years and on the boards of St. Rose Catholic Church, the Girl Scouts of Racine County, and St. Monica’s Senior Living Center.
Monk was a social being with him and Sheila hosting many parties, picnics and other get-togethers for family and friends. His warm and welcoming personality (think Leprechaun) was perfect for these social gatherings. Monk and Sheila started the Hi-Lo Dancers of Racine (“High entertainment, Low cost”). He enjoyed creating art work, remodeling their home, curling, woodworking projects, and traveling. Sheila and Monk took their five children on many camping trips and later after retirement, Sheila and Monk traveled the world.
Monk is survived by Sheila, his wife of 68 years, children: Patricia (Bruce) Chevis, Timothy (Nancy), John (Cindi), and William (Nancy), his sister Barbara Bull, and in-laws Richard and Ann Nevin; as well as ten grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Monk and Sheila’s daughter Sheila Ellen Ryan passed away peacefully at her home in Spokane, WA one week after Monk’s death.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Monk and Sheila Ellen will be celebrated jointly 10:30 a.m., Saturday, March 25, 2017, at St. Richard Catholic Church, 1509 Grand Ave., Racine, WI, 53403 with Reverend Allen Bratkowski officiating. Visitation with the family begins at 9 a.m. until time of Mass at 10:30 a.m. Entombment will follow at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials to St. Monica’s Senior Living Center may be sent through Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home, 803 Main St., Racine 53403.
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