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Leaving a legacy

Honoring a loved one with what he loved

Michael P. “Mike” Collins was an integral part of the AOPA Media team, and an active and supportive member of the association. He was a pilot, a photographer, an editor, a husband, and a father.

Photography by David Tulis

In February 2021 he contracted COVID-19 and in a fast but fierce battle lost his life to the virus. He was 59 years old. Amid the devastation his death brought to everyone who knew him, it was his wife, Janette, who knew the best way to honor Mike. She pledged a life insurance policy to the AOPA Legacy Society, ensuring Mike’s devotion to the association would help its mission continue for future generations.

“When Mike died, I wanted to find ways to make sure he is remembered. When I realized that a life insurance policy I have would allow me to do that by adding our names as members of the Legacy Society, it was a very easy decision,” said Janette. She is also a member of the AOPA team, formerly in our Communications department and now in the AOPA Pilot Information Center. She and Mike met at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. They married in 1999 and have three children.

“Making this donation honors the dedication to general aviation that Mike and I shared, and helps me to give back to the AOPA family, who has supported me and the kids with so much care. AOPA is additionally special in that Mike and I began our love story here,” Janette said. “I wholeheartedly believe in and support the missions of AOPA, ASI, and You Can Fly, and this gift brought an immediate cash donation due to the match, as well as a long-term value. I am honored to be a part of it.”

The “match” Janette refers to is the AOPA Foundation Legacy Challenge, which is fueled by a $1 million pledge from an anonymous donor. For each supporter who joins the Legacy Society after September 1, 2021, the Legacy Challenge funds an amount equal to 10 percent of the supporter’s disclosed planned gift. The Legacy Challenge will be active until the full $1 million is released.

“Mike got so much joy from being in general aviation, interacting with others who love it, and telling their stories. I think he would say how great it is that he and I can do something like this to make the joy possible for other people,” said Janette. “He’d also say, ‘a brilliant idea, my lovely wife.’”

For more information on legacy giving, visit the AOPA Foundation Legacy Giving website, or contact the AOPA Foundation at 301-695-2320 or [email protected].

[email protected]

Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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