Edward Henry Kollmer, 74, of Great Barrington died late Thursday night at Fairview Hospital surrounded by his loving family and the amazing and empathetic staff and first responders.
He was born April 24, 1946, at Mercy Hospital, Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York, son to Henry (Harry) and Agnes Kollmer. Edward attended Chaminade High School in Mineola, New York. Then attended St. John’s University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in German. He then continued his education at Hofstra University where he earned his master’s degree in secondary education with a concentration in social studies.
Edward was an oarsman for St. John’s University with his future brother-in-law, John O’Brien. After graduation, he went on to row for the New York Athletic Club, where he ultimately competed in Olympic trials in Montreal, Canada, in the two-man skulls with longtime friend Sandy Killen. An ardent runner, Edward ran in several marathons, including the Adam Helmer Marathon in Herkimer, New York, as well as competing in many Berkshire County races over the following decades.
Edward was a teacher for 42 years, beginning his career in New York, but started the career he’d be best known for at Mount Everett Regional High School in 1976. He continued at Mount Everett until his retirement in 2010, teaching both high school German and middle school math. He had a fulfilling career at Mount Everett, where he helped to shape the lives of countless Southern Berkshire County students. He ran the gaming club at Mount Everett for many of those years with partner teacher and longtime friend George Milukas. He spent evenings teaching and helping adults earn their high school diplomas working with local programs run by longtime friend David Pottle.
A devout Roman Catholic, he was an active member at St. Peter’s Parish in Great Barrington as a lector and was professed as a Secular Franciscan on Oct. 4, 2018. He found fulfillment as he marched for years in the local Relay for Life as a cancer survivor and volunteered on Mercy Weekends at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge.
As time permitted, he enjoyed movies immensely, reading historical and spiritual literature, and gaming. Later in life, he discovered the opera with his wife, Jean. Ed could always be found with copy of Military History Magazine in hand and ready to play a good board or card game anytime, anywhere.
Edward is best known by all for his kind, honest, genuine, positive, patient and good-natured demeanor even when imparting the wisdom that “Life isn’t fair.” He was always ready with a smile and mostly funny “dad joke.” He loved to spend time with all his family, as they did with him. A truly bright light in a sometimes dark world, he will be deeply missed.
Edward is survived by Jean, his wife of 46 years; sisters Carol O’Brien and husband John, and Mary Horton and husband John; children Stephanie Fallavollita and husband John, and Matthew Kollmer and wife Dawn; and grandchildren Caleb Kollmer, Maya Kollmer, Mia Fallavollita, Nora Fallavollita and Aaron Kollmer. He was predeceased by his parents and sister, Sr. Patricia Kollmer O.P.
The family will receive friends Thursday, June 18, 2020 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home in Great Barrington. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, June 19, 2020, at 10 a.m. at St. Peter’s Church in Great Barrington, conducted by Rev. William P. Murphy. Burial will follow immediately at St. Peter’s Cemetery also in Great Barrington. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Edward Kollmer Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. To send remembrances and memories to the family, go to www.finnertyandstevens.com.