Calvin Joseph Collier passed away peacefully, surrounded by his wife Mary and his family, on Oct. 6, 2020, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cal was a renowned government, legal and business executive who helped to shape the modern transportation and food industries. He was also a philanthropist and a world-class fisherman, often in the Keys. But he wished to be known best for his love for his wife of 56 years, Mary Evans Collier, and his family.
Cal’s early days were influenced by the hard work and public service of the post-war, midwestern generation. He was born the eldest of three children to the Hon. Harold Reginald Collier and his wife, Carol Bangert Collier in Berwyn, Illinois. Harold Collier served nine terms as a United States Congressman representing Chicago area districts, which provided Cal exposure to the impact he could have on a national level.
Cal graduated valedictorian of Morton High School in Berwyn, with varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball; and Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College, where he was awarded most valuable player in baseball. While at Grinnell, he met Mary Elizabeth Evans of North English, Iowa, whom he married on June 6, 1964 – the day after their graduation. It was the beginning of a lifelong devotion.
After Grinnell, Cal attended the Duke University School of Law where he was a member of the Law Review and Order of the Coif. He received his LLM from Duke in 1967.
Following law school, he began his career as a law clerk to Judge Harold Leventhal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington, D.C. Circuit before joining the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. In 1969 he began a career in public service as deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce, director of urban program coordination at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and general counsel at the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
In 1975, President Gerald Ford appointed Cal to be chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, among the youngest such appointments in history. He later received the prestigious Kirkpatrick Award for meritorious service to the FTC. He subsequently served as general counsel of the platform committee for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and on his transition team in 1980 and 1984, helping to shape the economic and policy teams and platforms of the Reagan Administration.
In 1978 he started his second career as a partner in the law firm Hughes, Hubbard & Reed where he became a leading counselor to clients navigating that period of rapid change in government regulation. In government and private practice, Cal helped define the contours of many industries that continue in effect today.
In 1988, he started his third career as a corporate executive when he joined Kraft Foods Inc. as senior vice president and general counsel. Over the next 16 years, he helped to create one of the largest and most important food companies in the world through the acquisition of Kraft by Philip Morris, a merger with General Foods, acquisitions of global brands such as Nabisco and Jacobs Suchard, and the initial public offering of Kraft Foods in 2001 that valued the company at over $54 billion. At the time, this was the second largest initial public offering ever completed.
Throughout his career and into his retirement, Cal remained deeply engaged in educational, civic and charitable organizations. He served as an adjunct law professor at Duke University and as a guest lecturer at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. He also served as a board member of Chicago Metropolitan Family Services, the Food Processors Association, Transora, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, and chairman of the Better Business Bureau and the National Advertising Review Council. He was also devoted to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Redbone organization, which married his passion for fishing and camaraderie with his commitment to funding cystic fibrosis research.
Cal worked hard at every vocation, but he was not all business. He was a polymath with a large and diverse portfolio of enthusiasms enriched by extensive travel, reading and friendships. He assembled a world-class collection of postage stamps and books and traveled widely in retirement.
He was an avid angler — known to many guides in Islamorada and the Lower Keys — and an adventurer,
exploring frontier locations decades before others and continued visiting remote Alaska until very recently. He entered numerous charitable fly fishing tournaments with his sons and frequently won using flies he designed and tied personally, based on observations made the previous day.
Above all else, Cal was dedicated to his wife and family.
Cal is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Evans Collier; his children, Calvin Evans Collier, David Harold Collier and Elizabeth Collier Clark; Cal Jr.’s wife, Catherine and their children, Calvin Evans Jr. (Evans), William and Camille; David’s wife, Alicia and their children, Grace, Kendall, Leighton and David Jr. (Harry); Elizabeth’s husband, Rick Clark and their children Latham and Molly; his sister Lynne Collier Kulp; his brother-in-law Bob Evans and sister-in-law Jane Ann McKenzie; and 10 nieces and nephews whom he loved as his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Carol Collier, and his brother Harold Paul (HP) Collier.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be given to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association.