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History

History

Francis J. Collins Funeral Home, Inc. has been faithfully serving families of Greater Washington since 1939. We are honored to be a part of the rich history of this community and plan to continue serving the community for future generations.

Strong Foundation - 1st Generation

 

Native Washingtonians, Francis and Catharine Collins founded the Francis J. Collins Funeral Home in their home on 14th Street Northwest, Washington, DC. Mr. Collins, affectionately known as “Happy”, graduated in 1926 from the Worsham School of Mortuary Science in Chicago. Happy worked for a cousin’s funeral home in Chicago, before returning to Washington in 1928, where he worked as a funeral director and trade embalmer for several area funeral homes.

In December of 1939, Happy and Catharine opened their home and founded Collins Funeral Home to serve the community. From that single row house, the Collins Family grew as Happy and Catharine welcomed their children, Francis, Jr. and Maureen, all while operating their growing funeral business.

By the late 1940’s, the business had grown to the point where expansion was necessary and when the row house next door came on the market the Collins family purchased it. The two row houses were combined, effectively doubling the size of the facility to better serve the community. The 14th Street location operated for the next fifteen years and, as the Collins’ reputation for compassionate service and reasonable prices continued to grow, so did the need for further expansion.

 

Expansion and Growth - 2nd Generation

 

In 1952 the Collins Family moved their family home to Sutherland Road in Silver Spring and in the mid 1960’s Happy sought a site nearby on which to build a brand new funeral home. Since he was at the age of retirement, however, he only wanted to take this step if one of his children were interested in coming into the business. Francis J. Collins, Jr. accepted that offer and joined his parents’ business after earning his mortuary science degree from the McAllister Institute in New York in 1967. Then in December 1968, the present location on University Boulevard West in Silver Spring opened its doors.

For over three decades, Francis Jr. oversaw the rapidly developing funeral business which grew to serve over four times the number of families served at the 14th Street location.

After Happy died in October 1985 at the age of 84, Francis Jr. became president and operated the business until his own death in April 2004 at age 65. Catharine Murphy Collins, the matriarch of the family and the funeral home, died in April 2006 at age 96. Her daughter, Maureen Collins McHugh, who had entered the business in 1993, kept a steady hand on the business with an emphasis on the family touch Collins is known for today. Shortly after her brother’s funeral, Maureen coined the phrase that is our mission to the present day– to “be kind.” Maureen believes that these two words are our reason for being, and staying, in business all these years.

 

Continuing the Mission - 3rd Generation

 

Today Collins Funeral Home is still family owned and operated by the third generation of funeral directors, in Maureen’s sons John and Terence. John Kyle Collins McHugh joined the family business in 2002. He graduated from Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, became an apprentice and then a licensed mortician, and today John leads the family company as its President. Terence Lanman McHugh, known as Terry, joined the family business in 2007. After graduating from the McAllister Institute, Terry became an apprentice and then a licensed mortician, and today he helps lead the company as its Vice-President. Terry additionally leads Collins’ community outreach and funeral pre-planning efforts as President of the Collins Group. Maureen is Chair of the Board, while John and Terry are each active in the day-to-day operations of the business where they welcome the opportunity to serve the community.

For over eighty years and across three generations, our founding philosophy has not changed – to serve our community with compassion, fair prices, and quality service – in short, to be kind.

 

Parking Announcement:
We are pleased to offer our families and visitors complimentary valet parking.
Please take advantage of this free amenity and refrain from parking in the surrounding neighborhood streets.



Francis J. Collins Funeral Home, Inc.
Phone: (301) 593-9500 | Fax: (301) 593-6551
500 University Blvd. West, Silver Spring, MD 20901


© Francis J. Collins Funeral Home, Inc.