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 Memories of Ken

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BoB's Team

Age : 107
Location : @ The Gym
Registration date : 2007-12-15

PostSubject: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:40 am

We were asked by our SHPC webmaster to write some of our memories of Ken for our newsletter next month. Below is what I wrote. Please feel free to share any stories you can recount about Kenny.

Ken was fond of saying that he was born to be a pipe smoker. His grandfather who he once described to me as 'one mean son of a bitch' was also a pipe smoker. When Kenny was very young he caught him playing with his pipes and grabbed him tightly and screamed at him to put them down and that he would never, ever become a smoker like him. Ken told me that at the very instant he knew that he eventually would.

Ken was a real renaissance man. He was a HUGE fan of Jazz and of cooking especially his famous gourmet cheese cakes. While not fluent in French, he could speak a whole lot of it and well. He was a constant reader of everything and a true to life registered socialist. He was about as generous of a man as you will ever meet. He would send tobacco free of charge to seemingley every new member on his favorite pipe forum "The Brothers of Briar" as well as members who were down on their luck. Ken embodied the spirit of a pipe smoker in every way. He was a cliche for everything one should be.

On top of this and as a recovering alcoholic, he was a sposor to countless folks batttling an addiction problem. Ken WAS that 3:00 am phone call from someone who was on the verge of giving into their addictions and he would try his very best to talk them down off the ledge. He would usually be successful. I own his 20 year sober coin from Alcaholics Anonoymous. It's one of, if not my most prized possesion. Ken just gave and gave. It's just who he was.

I called him "Dad" and he called me "Son" and I loved him deeply. I'm a better man for having known him and his absense will leave a hole in my heart that won't soon be healed...
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Age : 68
Location : foothills of the Ozarks
Registration date : 2007-12-21

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:08 am

We traded tobacco several times, and I remember once he made sure to let me know that the last half pound of a particular Lakeland Flake I was willing to trade was not going to be imported into the US anymore, so he wanted me to know it was going to become near impossible to get before I traded it away. Very honest of him. We also discussed at length whether a particular Va flake sold by a Chicago area tobacconist was actually Peter Stokkebye flake relabeled, though we never came to a conclusion.

True to his gentle ways, you may have noticed that he never (at least, I never saw any) posted in the rubber room. Personally, I think he did not want to offend any of our more conservative brothers so he perhaps felt it best to say nothing.

He was a good man and loved good tobacco.

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Age : 40
Location : Somewhere near Philly, PA
Registration date : 2009-12-31

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:25 pm

I hardly knew the man, but this thread struck me as a great example of his generosity and just general good nature: http://www.brothersofbriar.com/t7775-the-ephemeris?highlight=Ephemeris

The copy of the ephemeris I received from Ken was a memorial edition, full of writings about alot of folks who had been important and involved in the pipe world but had passed on. It was a fascinating read for the short while I had it before returning it to him.
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Midnight Blues

Age : 60
Location : Upstate NY
Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:26 pm

Although I never met Ken in person I always enjoyed my interactions with him here on this board, I really liked his style, all that information and his great generosity.

I participated in Kens lending library, he gave me my first opportunity to experience
Tom Dunn's Ephemeris.

Ken you will be missed, you will be thought of each time I light a new bowl, and hopefully I can live up to your generosity. Peace my friend,

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Centurian 803
Long Arm O' The Law

Age : 68
Location : Oak Ridge, TN
Registration date : 2008-09-10

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:17 pm

Unfortunately I never got to meet Ken but I felt like he was a friend just from reading his posts. His very generous offer to share his copies of the Ephemeris amazed me. I was so glad that I took advantage of his offer and got to have an experience that otherwise would have been denied me. Although I don't post often I do read as often as I can and I will surely miss his posts.
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Age : 30
Location : Alaska
Registration date : 2010-11-25

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:57 pm

He sounds like a great man! I wish I would've had the pleasure of meeting him.
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Registration date : 2008-07-02

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:09 pm

I was fortunate to be included in Mr. Collins Ephemeris loan, receiving several copies which I read and reread enjoying completely. I sent Ken some money to cover the postage and promptly received it back in the next Ephemeris he loaned me, along with a couple samples of rope and advice how to best enjoy them. Several more attempts were made to compensate "Dad", but always the money came back with a sample or two from his cellar, a beacon of BoB generosity.

I had the honor of being Kens Secret Santa a couple years ago. What, I wondered, could I possibly give this pipe rich cellar baron that would make any kind of an impression. A desperate plea to one of our esteemed members provided information and steered me in the right direction.
The tobaccos and my humble choice of a pipe were well received much to my relief, but that was to be expected from this honorable man.

I'll remember Ken as a generous man, short on words and long on knowledge.


Sometimes I wake up grumpy. Other times I let her sleep.
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Location : Brandenburg, Ky
Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:54 pm

I wonder if he ever put that Yankees hat on... Laughing Laughing

There aint much you can say other than he was a truly good man.
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Slow Puffs
Resident Sportscaster

Age : 69
Location : Alberta. Canada
Registration date : 2007-12-10

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:53 pm

Under Ken's list of jobs or other hobbies is:

Quote :

Truck Day, the "stankies", etc.

I feel deeply saddened like others. Ken did enter the Rubber Room, but very rarely, to make a brief comment.

Self-effacing, generous, etc.

Ken championed the Lakeland blends, but knew most tobaccos inside out.

Many of us marvelled about Ken's tobacco collecting. He could joke about it. "Don't worry, it's yours when I'm gone" or, on another occasion, speaking about his pipes as I recall, "They are going with me".

I am so glad to have shared with him on this Board and Knox. I am proud to have two of his pipes (even though they were ones he wasn't fond of, but they were his). I'm pleased that I had exchanged tobacco with him (I still have some of his tobacco in my cellar). I grateful the the Red Sox won two World Championships during our friendship. I'm grateful that Ken was Pipetongue1. I am grateful that Ken's friendship crossed borders.

Ken, you are deeply missed and will be deeply missed.

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PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:56 am

Like most of you I never got to meet Ken in person.
He was one of the first guys to make me feel welcome as a newbie and he spent much time answering my stupid early day questions.
I grew really fond of the man, hey whats not to like about him!! Smile
Ken found out that one of the few countries in the world still to stock his beloved Condor Long flake was South Africa. By the time Ken caught onto this it had already been discontinued here also. I remember ringing up all the baccy shops around the country trying to source as much as I could for him.
I sent him numerous shipments to get a decent cellar stock going. Every time he smoked a bowl he sent me a PM to let me know he has just lit a bowl.
Fond memories indeed.

Dock, and family, on behalf of the South African brotherhood, our sincere condolences. The world of pipes and tobacco was and will continue to be enriched and changed forever by Ken Collins!
We love you old man!!

I am going over to Muddler's place this afternoon to raise a bowl in honor of a great man!

The 'Smoke' hangs over table mountain in memory of you KEN!
Smoke the sky!

Your brothers of Briar
Piet and your South African friends!!
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Age : 47
Location : West Tennessee
Registration date : 2007-12-22

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:31 pm

I never meet Ken in person either. But have had several great posts, pm's and emails in the past 11 years with him. He too helped me when I first got started with the pipe. I too remember him from the old knox days and Smokers Haven.

There are two memories of ken that really stand out for me.

The first was when my house was broken into and robbed in 2003. I had a very small cellar mostly aro's but a few McClelland blends. But for some reason the idiots opened up tins and dumped them into the floor and they did the same with the couple jars I had too. I posted at knox what happened. In less than a week there was a box on my door step. There was more in the box than I had oringonally(sp) had to start with. There was a note in side saying not to tell who sent it to me if I posted it at Knox. So I never did tell who sent it til now.

The second was one night a bunch of us were messing with CP. And Ken was pm'ing me stuff to say to CP to get him going. He did not tell me much just enough to get CP worked up and it worked.

He was a great BOB and he will be deeply missed.
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Registration date : 2007-12-15

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:03 pm

I saw this poem on the internet and felt that it expressed many feelings concerning Ken:

The Bridge Builder

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep, and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you this bridge at the evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”

By Will Allen Dromgoole
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Age : 49
Location : Franklin,MA
Registration date : 2010-03-03

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:19 pm

I did have a chance to interact with Ken. I attended my first SHPC meeting last January and was overwhelmed by what a great group guys they are, so I joined. That night he approached me and introduced himself, he said I'd learn a lot and to feel free to ask him about anything. I took him up on that on several occasions. He introduced me Castello, the Lakeland Tobaccos, Bosun Cut plug, told me Ten Russians was the way to get a Latakia hit, and so much more.

My last memory of Ken was when he acquired that Ashton Magnum bent with Cumberland stem from Dock. Man, he loved that thing. I saw that getting a new, sought after pipe is a thrill at any age. I've become a bit of a collector myself.

I read a lot in books and forums saying that if the pipe is to survive then the image of the Pipeman needs to be young, hip and more attractive to future pipemen.

I'm sorry, I disagree. The image of an older gentleman sitting among friends of all ages, freely offering advice and truly giving of himself sits fine with me. That was Ken.


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Age : 29
Registration date : 2008-02-06

PostSubject: KEN   Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:40 pm

I have been A member of the SHPC for a little over 4 year now and have spent maney meetings just sitting with Ken chatting. He was one of the most decent fellows I have ever known and am truly trubbled by his loss. My first meeting back in January of 07 Ken was the first person to welcome me we sat and talked about things; he opend my world of pipe smoking he had about 5 or 6 different tobbacos on him and he had me try them all he also gave me a tin of Hamberger beermaster that was 8 years old, that day I found two of my all time favoret tobbacos, he once said something that changed my whole view of pipe smokeing. Before this day I sort of beleved that you were just supposed to find a blend and stick to it. But Ken being Ken and Loveing pipes and tobacco that would never have been good enough. "It ant the place you end up thats importaint its the Jurney, no pipe tobacco ever empresses you or gives you that same feeling of splender as that first time you try an exceptional bowl" " as long as you try en try em all youll always be surprized never bord and never run out of tobbaco" These two quotes truly shaped my thoughts on pipe smokeing and I am forever greatfull to him. My Last memorie of Ken is my favort it was back in september at the SHPC BBQ at Erics house were Ken just seemed so happy sitting in the sun with his wife enjoying the company of friends, good food and of cource pipes. This is how ill rember ken; smiling in the sun.
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Doc Manhattan


Age : 40
Location : Land of Steady Habits
Registration date : 2008-05-26

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:53 pm

Like so many others, I was the recipient of Ken's generosity--half a pound of flake near impossible to find on this side of the pond. More than that, I recall he wouldn't hesitate to drop a message to commiserate about some little thing we had in common. I can't remember him complaining about anything ever (besides the occasional lamentation about the employees of Fenway Park.)

The Ethics of Fathers (part of the Talmud) advises: Say little, do much, and receive every man with a cheerful countenance. That was Ken absolutely.

A good person, who thought of others first, generous of everything, dearly missed.
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Age : 72
Location : Northeast Georgia
Registration date : 2008-01-03

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:29 pm

Last Oct. I had planned to stop and see him on my way back from Nova Scotia. Unfortunately my new Garmin had "optimized" the route I had developed on my PC after transferring the route to my unit with out my knowledge and missed Abington by a long shot.

Anyway, the most vivid memory about him occurred last spring during a time when we were trading tobacco. He posted about having a good smoke the night the Red Sox walloped the Yankees. I posted a reply asking him what type of tobacco because the Braves were doing miserably. He replied it was Uhle's "00". I planned to order some but found a sample he secretly included in the trade box he sent me. I smoked it that night and the Braves has a sudden turn around and led their division for a long time. Several weeks later he posted asking if anyone had tins of aged University Flake. I didn't respond but sent him a lone tin I had saved. When he received it, he sent the nicest thank you PM I've ever received.

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Age : 64
Location : Knoxville
Registration date : 2007-12-20

PostSubject: Re: Memories of Ken   Thu Jan 27, 2011 7:33 am

I always thought of Ken as the embodiment of what it means to be a true brother...of the briar or anything else. A man who always seemed to put others first.

I remember when I first joined the old Knox Cigar board. He was one of the first to welcome me,and this long time pipe smoker who had spent many years smoking nothing but Captain Black cherished his advice and counsel on the many blends I had yet to try.

From the song "Granddaddy Finley": "the good you do is never gonna die."

May God grant rest to his soul.

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