STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - Richard Collins lives just a stone's throw away from the home his parents shared for decades. He said the hardest part since the tragedy that took the life of his father, and landed his mother in the hospital, is being out there all alone.
"It's the fact that my dad will never be down there again," said Richard. "That's what hurts when I stand on my porch and I look at his house."
Monday night, John and Helen Collins were on their way back from a trip to Florida. John suffered a heart attack in mid-air, forcing Helen to take control.
Richard was waiting for his parents to land at the Cherryland Airport in Sturgeon Bay. He said when he saw all the emergency crews speeding in, his heart dropped.
"I wish I was up in that plane," said John. "I would have given anything to have been up there to help my mom."
With guidance from another pilot, Helen was able to land safely.
"You can't get any further apart on that spectrum of having happiness and sadness at the same time," remarked Richard.
He said he's not surprised with his mother's calm demeanor during the ordeal, heard on recently released 911 tapes.
"That's the kind of woman she is," explained Richard. "When she has to jump into action during a stressful situation, she keeps a cool head."
He called her a hero, and said he'll always remember his father as one, too.
"It's difficult because we did so much together," recalled Richard. "He was not only my father, but he was my best friend. If he could help somebody, he would. He was just an all-around good person."
Helen was released from the hospital Friday.
John's funeral will be held at 11:00am Tuesday at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Sturgeon Bay. Visitation will be Monday from 3:00pm to 8:00pm at Huehns Funeral Home, and at the church before the funeral.