A bear-sized man with Santa Claus tendencies and a biker-hippie vibe, Roger Collins was twice honored by his Sebastopol community for his humanitarian work and community giving, which included cooking free Thanksgiving meals for over 10,000 people since 2001 at the annual holiday dinners organized by him, his wife Linda and an always-widening circle of friends and community volunteers.
Collins died suddenly at his home on Jan. 10. He was 65.
The Collinses were most recently honored in December by the city council of Sebastopol as the latest awardees of the “Locals Who Make A Difference” campaign. Roger and Linda Collins were also named as Humanitarians of the Year at the 2013 Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce annual Community Awards.
Collins was born June 29, 1953, and graduated from El Molino High School in 1971. He was married to Linda for 38 years.
He was a welder by trade and a retired pipefitter with Local 38. Family, friends, dogs, old machines — especially his ’55 Chevy — and barbecuing were special passions in his life. He worked hard at having serious fun.
Collins recently completed the restoration of his ’55 Chevy, which he had owned since high school. He was a member of the Empire Classic Chevy Club and participated in many club outings.
For several years he owned and operated several mobile barbecue rigs and operated a catering business as Wine Country Expressions BBQ. He also manufactured and sold his own sauce, Rockin’ Roger’s Locomotion BBQ Sauce. Friends say he gave more sauce away than he ever bothered to sell. He specialized in community and charity work with his large cooking outfit, often cooking for hundreds, serving a mixed grill of tri-tip, steaks, links, oysters and vegetables. One of his secret fuels for his grill was Coors Light beer.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Sebastopol Community Church. He is survived by his wife Linda Collins, sisters Norma Paine and Nancy Wilson, nieces Nina Race (David), Shawna Campbell, Olivia Fomasi, nephew Dominic Fomasi, brother-in-law Chuck Fomasi (Jeanette) and great nieces and a nephew.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Community Church of Sebastopol Meals, Gold Ridge Volunteer Fire Department or a charity of choice in his name.