5. William J. Collins (1886 - 1962)
William J. Collins
William “Willie” Joseph Collins (1886-1962) was born on 16 September 1886 in New Orleans, Louisiana. For 50 years he was associated with the firm of Collins Brothers contractors with his brother George T. Collins. Among the buildings the firm constructed are the New Biloxi Hospital, Hotel Biloxi, Sacred Heart Academy, Howard II School, Gorenflo School, Wachenfeld Apartments, Barq Building and St. John’s Catholic Church in Gulfport. He was a member of Nativity BVM Catholic Church and active in the parish affairs. He had been a director of the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, was a charter member of West End Fire Department, and been active in the Knights of Columbus and the Biloxi Rotary Club and in other civic organizations.
201 Hopkins Boulevard
He resided at 201 Hopkins Boulevard, Biloxi, Mississippi. Hopkins Street was named for Dr. Hopkins and he had the first house across the street. William would build a speculative house and they would live in it. The back bedroom was called the dormitory (for all the boys).
People used to want to come to the Hopkins street house for meals; Mom was a good cook and so was Alice. Alice worked for 20 – 21 years with the family, she was live-in help. Alice would fry chicken – the boys would go through and sneak pieces. Mary would take oatmeal down to the pier in the morning and stay past lunchtime and get in trouble. After their mother died Mary would go to the butcher to get meat, if it wasn’t a good one, Alice would send her back for a better piece that met with Alice’s approval.
On Sunday, they used to have wine in ice tea glasses because all the wine glasses were broken by the boys (Lenny) playing priest.
When Mary went to school in New Orleans (St Mary’s Dominican) her friends would ask to come home with her, the house was fun and five handsome brothers helped.
Frank liked Jazz and Bill liked Classical music.
The boys would have pillow fights in the dormitory when their parents were in the front yard and couldn’t hear. Aunt Mary would get a pair of big shoes and stomp down the hall trying to sound like a grownup. As she got close it would quieten down, one of the boys would listen at the door. Finally, one of them would work up enough nerve to open the door, and when they did, they would find her standing there. They would jerk her in and she would start screaming and hollering and mother would come running saying “don’t break her wrists, don’t break her fingers”. Mary played the piano.
The family was interested in sports and sailing. They built several boats. They built one they called “tar baby” and it sank.
Since they lived on the coast, they had many friends who came to spend the winter. There were two apartments in the house. Downstairs was built for Dr. Snow. The Langley’s would come from Chicago to spend the winter. They had an only child (Bobby?), but they liked the feeling of having family (brothers and sisters) for him. She would buy him new clothes and he would request that she sew patches on them because all the Collins boys had patches on their clothes and he didn’t want to be different.
Augustine “Gussie” Mary O’Connell, the daughter of Francis Xavier O’Donnell and Marie Ichante, was born on 22 April 1893 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She married William Joseph Collins on 10 July 1919 at St Augustine Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. She died on 3 October 1952 at the age of 59.
Mary remembers her Mom walked to Mass every morning. One day she lost her engagement ring. She was very distressed. About noon, a man came to our door and he had the ring. He said it was found in front of his place of business, Pringle Ford, on the sidewalk. Decided that it must be hers because they opened at 6:00 and Mass was at 6:30 and very few people walked at that hour of the morning. They decided that they would approach her before putting an ad in the paper.
William died on 19 June 1962 at the age of 76 in the New Biloxi Hospital. He was buried in the Biloxi Cemetery.
Monsignor O’Connell spoke at Daddy’s funeral. He studied the casket for a long time then he said “There lies an honest man”. Then he embellished that saying “you always got your money’s worth because the job would be done just so”. Monsignor O’Connell had daddy had many differences of opinion. Daddy did all the work that was done for the church. He did all the work for Nativity B.V.M. School. The monsignor had someone else do the acoustical tile in the church once and sure enough it started falling off the ceiling one day in Mass.
Leonard William Sr. Augustine Mary
Paul Bill William Sr. Mary Frank Lenny Joe
William J. Collins Sr. and Augustine O'Donnell Collins's children
William J. Collins Jr.
Captain William Joseph Collins Jr. (1920-2012), Civil Engineer Corps U.S. Naval Reserve, Retired, died on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, in Houston, Texas. Captain Collins was born on September 9, 1920, in New Orleans to Augustine O'Donnell and William J. Collins. At the age of two his family moved to Biloxi. He graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in 1938, attended Perkinston Jr. College for one year and graduated from Mississippi State College in 1942 with a BS Degree in Civil Engineering. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve and was assigned to Midshipman School at the University of Notre Dame and was commissioned Ensign in March of 1943. He was assigned to Camp Peary, Virginia for Seabee training and to the 117th Naval Construction Battalion when it was commissioned in September of 1943.
After training at CBC Gulfport the battalion was sent to Oahu and then to Saipan for duty construction of advanced naval bases. He was released from active duty in February of 1946.
In 1947 he was employed by Harrison County to assist in engineering the sand beach. In 1949 he was employed as City Engineer for Biloxi until recalled to active duty in May of 1952 and ordered to NAAS Chase Field, Beeville, Texas as Resident Officer in charge of Construction on runways and airfield facilities. Upon release from active duty in 1954 he was employed as a civil engineer at CBC Gulfport. In 1956 he transferred to District Public Works Office, Eighth Naval District and subsequently was Deputy Director of New Orleans Branch of Southern Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command. He retired in 1980, returned to the Coast to design and build his home in Gulf Hills and then moved to Houston in 2009.
He was an award-winning watercolorist and a charter member of the Louisiana Watercolor Society. He was a former member of numerous organizations including past president of Biloxi Jaycees, Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Past president of St. Alphonsus Parish Council, Past president of Louisiana Post Society of Military Engineers, Naval League of New Orleans, West Bank Art Society, New Orleans Art Association and Mississippi Society of Professional Engineers. He was a volunteer at Keesler Medical Center Pharmacy for eight years and served as a lay Eucharistic Minister at St. Alphonsus Church for many years.
Captain Collins was preceded in death by his parents, wives, Dorothy Gates Collins (1920-1998) and Jane Ross Buck Collins (1921-2005), the widow of George Thad Buck (1918-1993); son, William Gates Collins (1944-1986); daughter, Evelyn Lloyd Collins (1953-1984); and twin brother, Francis X. Collins (1920-2000).
Survivors include a son, James E. (Joy) Collins, of Grants Pass, Oregon, two daughters, Carolyn (Robert) Manley of Ocean Springs, Mississippi and Toni Collins (James) Gosney of Houston, Texas, brothers, Joseph (Dot), Paul (Rose) and Leonard (Lucille), sister, Mary Collins (Dick) Wilson of Dallas, Texas, sister-in-law, Rose Mary Collins, grandchildren, Bob Manley, David Manley, Michelle Bloodsworth, Kati Manley, Allison Gosney, "J.R." Collins and Ethan Collins, great-grandchildren, Dorothy Grace Bloodworth and Sofie Manley, step-daughters, Bonnie Luft of Ocean Springs, Kathy O'Connor of Biloxi, Beth Hoffman of Pensacola, and Tracey Waddell of Key West, step-grandchildren, Robert Berry, Susan Parker, Carlie Hoffman, Thad DelConte, Matthew DelConte and Virginia Waddell and seven step-great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be on Saturday, September 22, 2012, from 10 am ~ 11 am, with an 11 am Mass of Christian Burial, all at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church. Burial will follow in Southern Memorial Park with full military honors. The Ocean Springs Chapel of Bradford O'Keefe Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Francis X. Collins
Francis Xavier Collins (1920-2000) was born on 9 September 1920 at New Orleans. He died 2 August 2000 at his Biloxi, Mississippi residence.
Mr. Collins was a lifetime resident of Biloxi. He was a member of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Biloxi. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, St. James Council and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army during World War II and in the Mississippi National Guard. He was a member of the V.F.W., American Legion, and Mississippi City Lions Club. He was the founding president of the Home Builders Association of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi. He was honored as the first inductee into the Mississippi Housing Hall of Fame. The new office building of the Gulf Coast Association was named in his honor. He was a Life National Director and Life Spike of the National Association of Home Builders and served as the chairman of the National Training and Education Committee, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Student Chapters of the Home Builders Institute.
Along with his brother Paul, he developed and built the College Park, Sherwood Estates and Turnkey III Subdivisions in Gulfport and Cedar Lake Subdivision in North Biloxi. He also developed and built several multi-family housing projects for the Departments of H.U.D. and Defense.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William J. Collins and Augustine O'Donnell Collins.
Mr. Collins is survived by his wife, Rose Mary Gutierrez Collins of Biloxi; two daughters and spouses: Mary Conn (Clark) of Jackson, Mississippi, and Martha LeTard (Dr. Thomas P.) of Biloxi; eight sons and spouses: Frank R. Collins (Lynette) of Kenner, Louisiana, Rev. Kevin A. Collins, O.M.I. of San Antonio, Texas, Timothy V. Collins (Necia L. Quast) of New Delhi, India, Terry Collins (Tara) of Biloxi, John J. Collins (Teresa) of Madison, Mississippi, Mark J. Collins of Biloxi, Thomas N. Collins (Trisha) of Biloxi and Patrick G. Collins (Leslie) of Biloxi; one sister: Mary Wilson of Dallas, Texas; four brothers and spouses: William J. Collins, Jr. (Jane) of Ocean Springs, Joseph O. Collins (Dot) of Biloxi, Paul J. Collins (Rose) of Biloxi, and Leonard A. Collins (Lucille) of Gulfport; 20 grandchildren, Catie, Caroline and Gracie Conn, Rachel, Thomas Patrick, Collin and Meghan LeTard, Sarah, Billy, Julie and Wendy Collins, Ashley Schulte and Daniel Collins, Michael, Matthew and Stephen Collins, Thomas N., Jr. and Cecilia Collins, and Laurel and Ellen Collins.
Visitation will be Thursday, Aug. 3, 2000, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. Friends may call from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. with a Wake service at 7 p.m. On Friday, Aug. 4, 2000, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friends may call one hour prior to service. Burial will be in Biloxi City Cemetery. The Pass Road Chapel of Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home in Biloxi is in charge of arrangements.(The Sun Herald, August 3, 2000)
Joseph O. Collins
Joseph O’Donnell Collins (1921-2012), a lifelong Biloxian, died peacefully on October 21, 2012, in the comfort of his home. Joseph was born to Augustine O'Donnell Collins and William J. Collins, Sr. on December 29, 1921, and graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1939. He proudly served the United States as a Navy Seabee in the Pacific Theater in World War II. In 1954, he founded J.O. Collins Contractor, Inc., following his grandfather, father, and brothers in the building profession. He was later joined in his construction business by his sons, Charles and Daniel, and he served as the President of the Company until his death. As a builder, he earned a reputation for honesty, integrity, and excellence. He built many churches, schools, government, medical, and commercial buildings on the coast, including Our Lady of Fatima Church where he was a devoted parishioner for many years. He was especially proud of the restoration of Fort Massachusetts after Hurricane Camille, and numerous restorations of local historical landmarks including The Old Spanish Fort in Pascagoula, Fort Barrancas in Pensacola, The Magnolia Hotel, the Biloxi Lighthouse, the Pleasant Reed House, and train depots in Bay St. Louis, Ocean Springs, and Pascagoula. Joseph was a charter member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Associated General Contractors, served a term as its President, and was recently honored with its lifetime achievement award.
As a proud Irishman, he was a founding member of Biloxi's Hibernia Marching Society. While he had many professional accomplishments, the most important part of his life was wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and faith. Joseph was preceded in death by his mother and father, his brothers, Francis X. Collins, William J. Collins, Jr., daughter-in-law Francesca Mathews Collins, brother-in-law Edmund D. Wilson, and sisters-in-law Dorothy Gates Collins and Jane Collins. He is survived by Dorothy Martinolich Collins, his devoted wife of sixty-six years, his sons, Joseph Collins Jr. and wife, Colleen; Charles Collins Sr. and wife, Debbie; Daniel Collins and wife, Terese; and daughter Deborah Collins Jones. Joseph was especially proud of his twelve grandchildren, Emily Collins Orgler (Raymond), Allison Collins Kline (Clayton), Justin Collins (Liza), Charles Collins, Jr. (Sarah), Nicholas Collins, Kenneth Jones, II (Leigh), Gregory Collins, Laura Collins, Benjamin Collins, Kathryn Collins, Austin Collins, and Tiffany Jones and his great grandchildren, Oliver Collins, Clayton Kline II, Charles Collins III, and Sawyer Collins. Joseph is also survived by his brothers, Paul J. Collins and wife, Rose, Leonard A. Collins and wife, Lucille, sister, Mary Collins Wilson, and sister-in-law Rosemary (Mrs. Francis X.) Collins. He also leaves behind many cousins, nieces, and nephews. Joseph's grandsons will proudly serve as his pallbearers.
Visitation will be Friday, October 26th from 9:00AM until 11:00AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Pass Road, Biloxi, and burial will follow at Southern Memorial Park. The Howard Avenue Chapel of Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.(The Sun Herald, October 24, 2012)
Dorothy Adair Martinolich "Dot" Collins (1925-2015) died peacefully at her home on July 19, 2015. Dorothy was born on March 27, 1925 in Handsboro to Joseph Dominic Martinolich and Inez Delmas Martinolich and was a proud graduate of the Gulfport High School Class of 1943. Dorothy's first and most important vocation was as a wife to Joseph, her husband of 66 years, and as a loving mother and example to her daughter and sons. She was a devoted member of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, where she served as a Eucharistic Minister, a member of the Altar Society, and a volunteer for the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. After raising her children she attended college and enjoyed oil painting, becoming an accomplished artist. Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph O'Donnell Collins, Sr., her mother and father, her sister, Margaret Peranich, her brother Charles, daughter-in-law Francesca Mathews Collins, brothers-in-laws, Francis X. Collins, William J. Collins, Jr., Paul J. Collins, Edmund D. Wilson, Louis Gaddy, and George Peranich, and sisters-in-law Dorothy Gates Collins and Jane Collins.(The Sun Herald, July 22, 2015)
Paul John Collins
Paul John Collins (1923-2015) was born on 14 July 1923 in Biloxi, Mississippi. He graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Biloxi in 1940 and attended Mississippi State University. He proudly served in the United States Army in World War II.
On June 4, 1948, he founded Collins Building Service with his brother Frank, following his grandfather, father, uncles, and brothers in the building profession. As a builder, he earned a reputation for honesty, integrity, and excellence. He built many homes and apartment complexes on the coast, and subdivisions including College Park and Cedar Lake. Paul was a charter member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Home Builders Association, served a term as its President, and was recently honored with its lifetime achievement award.
He was a devoted parishioner of Nativity B.V.M. Church for all his life, where he was active in the Knights of Columbus, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, past president of Parish Council, past president of the Biloxi Catholic school board, the Holy Name Society, the SERRA Vocation Ministry, and he served as a lay Eucharistic Minister at the church for many years.
In addition to those church activities, he gave his time to a number of civic organizations including the Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, and serving as past president of the Biloxi Jaycees. He received the 2004 Lions Club Outstanding Citizen award and the 2007 Edgewater Rotary Club Shining Star Award. He volunteered his time and his sailboat to help Boy Scouts learn to sail at Camp Wilkes. He had a strong sense of service to help those who were less fortunate. He supported Habitat for Humanity both financially and with his construction supervision and labor. He supported the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Community Pharmacy program. He was also a hospice volunteer for many years with Quality Hospice, receiving a volunteer of the year award.
Paul set some records at Sacred Heart that have never been equaled. He took a course in accounting. It was supposed to take 6 weeks. It was a summer crash course. His teacher Sister Magdalene told Mary, his sister, he completed it in 2 week. He had a gift for common sense. He played football very well. He was very fast and even though he wasn’t very big, when they gave him the ball he could always find a hole and get through. Mary was fiercely proud of him. When someone would remark about one of her brothers, she would want to punch them. She found out later, they know this and would do it on purpose. One time Paul had the ball and made a long run, and they said “Aw, he’s got lead in his feet” and she got mad and turned around and balled him out. Paul is number 11 below.
While he had many professional accomplishments, along with his faith the most important part of his life was family. Besides providing a loving home for his wife and children to grow up in, he instituted the annual Paul Collins Destin condo/beach vacation for all his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. For his extended family, he hosted the Collins Family Reunions at his home for many years where relatives and friends from the corners of the world would flock annually to share in the Collins family spirit. Even after Katrina and the house destroyed, the Collins family spirit was kept alive.
He grew up just half a block from the beach near what is now the I-110 loop and he loved sailing. He, some of his brothers, and a friend had built a “Skate” style sailboat, which is how he met his future bride, Rose. She took the train over from New Orleans with her sister and accepted a sailboat ride from the handsome young man they had noticed earlier on walks past his Hopkins Street house. When his children were old enough to sail, he helped them build a sailboat and there have been sailboats in the family ever since. Here he is teaching his son Richard in the “Ginger”.
After all his children moved out and started families of their own, he still enjoyed taking the “Ginger” out on Back Bay. He especially enjoyed the friendly rivalry when sailing regattas were incorporated with the family reunions, and was very proud to have won the first place trophy in the Y2K (year 2000) Collins Regatta.
Paul married Rose Marie Chauvin on 2 June 1947. Rose came from New Orleans and would sit on the pier and when Paul would come by she would say “would you rent the sailboat? Would you take us for a ride and we’ll pay you”. Paul would say, “I’ll take you for a ride but you don’t have to pay me.” Rose is an accomplished artist and sculptor. They resided in the home that Paul built on Back Bay at 1248 Kensington Drive until Hurricane Katrina destroyed it. They have since rebuilt at the same location.
Paul died on 18 March 2015 in Biloxi, Mississippi. He is donating his body for medical research but received a Mass of Christian burial on 28 March 2015. His ashes will be returned and interned in two years.
Paul and Rose’s Children
Stephen “Steve” Francis Collins was born on 10 July 1948 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Richard “Richie” Oliver Collins was born on 14 August 1949 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Michael Paul Collins was born on 30 August 1951 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Donald Eugene Collins was born on 26 September 1952 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Lawrence “Larry” Phillip Collins was born on 23 August 1956 in Biloxi, Mississippi. He died on 17 February 1967 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Gregory “Greg” Peter Collins was born on 26 September 1958 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Virginia “Ginger” Rose Collins was born on 19 April 1961 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Elizabeth Ann Collins was born on 15 October 1962 in Biloxi, Mississippi. She died on 17 February 1967 in Biloxi, Mississippi at the age of 4. She died of Spinal Meningitis.
Glenn Alan Collins was born on 28 February 1966 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Paul John Collins (1923-2015), who lived in Biloxi all his life, died peacefully on March 18, 2015, with the comfort of his loving family. Paul was born to Augustine O'Donnell Collins and William J. Collins Sr. on July 14, 1923. He graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Biloxi in 1940 and attended Mississippi State University. He proudly served in the United States Army in World War II.
On June 4, 1948, Paul founded Collins Building Service with his brother Frank, following his grandfather, father, uncles, and brothers in the building profession. As a builder, he earned a reputation for honesty, integrity, and excellence. He built many homes and apartment complexes on the coast, and subdivisions including College Park and Cedar Lake. Paul was a charter member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Home Builders Association, served a term as its President, and was recently honored with its lifetime achievement award.
Paul was a devoted parishioner of Nativity B.V.M. Church for all his life, where he was active in the Knights of Columbus, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, past president of Parish Council, past president of the Biloxi Catholic school board, the Holy Name Society, the SERRA Vocation Ministry, and he served as a lay Eucharistic Minister at the church for many years. In addition to those church activities, he gave his time to a number of civic organizations including the Kiwanis Club, the Rotary Club, and serving as past president of the Biloxi Jaycees. He received the 2004 Lions Club Outstanding Citizen award and the 2007 Edgewater Rotary Club Shining Star Award. He volunteered his time and his sailboat to help Boy Scouts learn to sail at Camp Wilkes. He had a strong sense of service to help those who were less fortunate. He supported Habitat for Humanity both financially and with his construction supervision and labor. He supported the St. Vincent de Paul Society's Community Pharmacy program. He was also a hospice volunteer for many years with Quality Hospice, receiving a volunteer of the year award. While he had many professional accomplishments, along with his faith the most important part of his life was family.
Besides providing a loving home for his wife and children to grow up in, he instituted the annual Paul Collins Destin condo-beach vacation for all his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. For his extended family, he hosted the Collins Family Reunions at his home for many years where relatives and friends from the corners of the world would flock annually to share in the Collins family spirit.
Paul grew up just half a block from the beach near what is now the I-110 loop and he loved sailing. He, some of his brothers, and a friend had built a "Skate" style sailboat, which is how he met his future bride, Rose. She took the train over from New Orleans with her sister and accepted a sailboat ride from the handsome young man they had noticed earlier on walks past his Hopkins Street house. When his children were old enough to sail, he helped them build a sailboat and there have been sailboats in the family ever since. After all his children moved out and started families of their own, he still enjoyed taking the "Ginger" out on Back Bay. He especially enjoyed the friendly rivalry when sailing regattas were incorporated with the family reunions, and was very proud to have won the first place trophy in the Y2K (year 2000) Collins Regatta.
Paul was preceded in death by his mother and father, his brothers William J. Collins, Jr., Francis X. Collins, Joseph O. Collins, brother-in-law Edmund D. Wilson, sisters-in-law Dorothy Gates Collins and Jane Collins, his daughter Elizabeth Ann, his son Lawrence Phillip, and his grandson Zeke.
Paul is survived by Rose Marie Chauvin Collins, his devoted wife of sixty-eight years, his children; Stephen F. (CoCo) Collins, of Ocean Springs, Mississippi; Richard O. (Lisa) Collins, of Valrico, Florida; Michael P. (Charliene) Collins of Ocean Springs; Donald E. (Patricia) Collins of Biloxi, Mississippi; Gregory P. (Frances) Collins of New Orleans; Virginia R. Collins (Ronald Clarke) of Biloxi; Glenn A. (Susan) Collins of Biloxi, Mississippi, and daughter-in-law Jackie (Larry) of Arkansas. Paul was especially proud of his grandchildren, Anne (Balderston), Jennifer (Kotar), Lydia, Lillian, Christy (LeBatard), Kimberly (Pevey), Jed, Gregory (Jerin), Jonathan, Sam (Collie) and Eli; and his nine great grandchildren, Jacob, Jared, Justin, William, Wesley, Gracie, Claire, Parker, and Vivian. Paul is also survived by his sister Mary Collins Wilson; brother Leonard A. Collins and wife, Lucille; sister-in-law Rosemary (Mrs. Francis X.) Collins; and sister-in-law, Dot (Mrs. J.O. Collins). He also leaves behind many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Paul is donating his body for medical research, but a memorial service will be on Saturday, March 28th at Nativity B.V.M. Cathedral, Biloxi. Visitation with the family will be from 9:00 to 11:00 AM, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial. The Howard Avenue Chapel of Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.(The Sun Herald, March 22, 2015)
Mary I. Collins
Mary Ichante Collins was born on 2 September 1926 at Biloxi. She attended Sacred Heart Academy at Biloxi and was a June 1946 graduate in Secretarial Science from St. Mary’s Dominican College at New Orleans. While at her Sacred Heart Academy graduation on May 28, 1944, Mary was recognized with the following honors: Miss Sacred Heart Academy; outstanding Sodalists; highest mark on Religion test; outstanding speller; highest average in Bookkeeping; 150 words in Shorthand; typing 70 words per minute; and the Bookkeeping diploma.(The Daily Herald, May 26, 1944, p. 7)
While at Dominican College, Miss Collins was Class treasurer for two years; Secretary of Beta Epsilon, the commercial club; and a member of the Theta Pi sorority.(The Daily Herald, June 8, 1946, p. 4)
Mary married Edmund Dixon ‘Dick’ Wilson (1922-1980) in Nativity B.V.M. Catholic Church on April 25, 1953 with the Reverend John Scanlon officiating. Mr. Wilson was a native of Conway, Arkansas born on June 6, 1922 to Mr. and Mrs. Roy Wilson. He was a graduate of El Dorado High School.(The Daily Herald, April 27, 1953, p. 15 and Harrison Co., Mississippi Chancery Court MRB 93, p. 118)
On October 30,1942, Dick Wilson enlisted for military service with the Army Air Corps ground forces. As a Staff Sergeant he served with the 8th Air force during WW II in England until his discharge in October 1945. Dick entered Hendrix College after working for Chicago & Southern [later Delta] airlines in Jackson, Mississippi until May 1946. He graduated from Arkansas Polytechnic College in 1950, and worked for Arkansas Power & Light Co. in Pine Bluff for three months until he joined the newly formed Mid-South Gas Company. As district manager of the Mid-South Gas Company and a resident of Forrest City, Arkansas his district covered Forrest City, Wynne, Brinkley, Wheatley, Cotton Plant, Palestine, Colt, and Caldwell, Arkansas. At Forrest City, Dick and Mary were members of the Catholic church, and he was a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, the King-Beazley American Legion Post, and the Young Business Men's Club. Mr. Wilson died on October 2, 1980 and his corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi Cemetery at Biloxi, Mississippi.(The Times-Herald [Forrest City, Arkansas], October 1980)
Leonard A. Collins
Leonard A. Collins
Leonard Aloysius Collins (1930-2016) was born in Biloxi, Mississippi on October 23, 1930 and died peacefully on Thursday, January 28, 2016 surrounded by his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William J. Collins Sr. and Augustine O'Donnell Collins, his brothers and their wives, William J. Collins Jr.(Dorothy), Francis X. Collins, Joseph O. Collins (Dorothy) and Paul J. Collins (1923-2015).
Leonard is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lucille LoBianco Collins and his children, Karen Redd (Eddy), Linda Collins, Kenneth Collins, Patricia Mangrum (Michael), and Nancy Butts (Michael). He was the proud grandfather to six grandchildren; Annie Redd, William Redd, Matthew Mangrum, Benjamin Mangrum, Thomas Mangrum and Riley Collins. He is also survived by his sister Mary Collins Wilson, and sister-in-laws Rosemary Collins (Mrs. Francis X.) and Rose Collins (Mrs. Paul J.).
Leonard was born and raised in Biloxi, Mississippi. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and then attended Louisiana State University where he received a degree in Architectural Engineering. After earning his registration as an architect in 1955, he entered the United States Air Force where he served as a commissioned officer. He started his career as an architect in Baton Rouge. In 1961 he moved to Biloxi and joined his uncle, John T. Collins in the practice of architecture. The firm merged into the firm of Guild-Hardy, Architects, in 1998 where Leonard remained as a consultant until 2011. During his career he designed many buildings along the Gulf Coast. One of the projects closest to his heart was St. James Elementary School, where all five of his children attended.
He was an active member of St. James Parish, serving as President of the St. James Catholic Church Parish Council. He was a strong believer in Catholic education and served on the St. James Catholic School PTO, the St. John High School Home School Association and Diocese of Biloxi School Board.
Leonard was president of the United Way organization and served as General Campaign Chairman for Harrison County in 1977. He also served on the Board of Directors of Goodwill industries of South Mississippi. He was active in the Knights of Columbus (4th Degree).
He was a member of Biloxi Rotary Club, Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, Diocese of Biloxi Building and Real Estate Committee, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Section of the American Institute of Architects.
Along with his faith, the most important part of his life was his family. He enjoyed spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren especially during their annual summer beach vacations. He will be deeply miss
The Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, February 1, 2016 at 11:00 A.M. at St. James Catholic Church, Gulfport where friends may visit beginning at 9:30 A.M. Interment will follow at Biloxi City Cemetery, Biloxi. Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport is in charge of arrangements.(The Sun Herald, 'Leonard A. Collins, January 30, 2016)
The Sun Herald, 'William J. Collins’, September 20, 2012, p. A4.
The Sun Herald, 'Joseph O'Donnell Collins Sr.’, October 24, 2012.
The Sun Herald, 'Paul J. Collins', March 22, 2015.
The Sun Herald, "Dorothy M. Collins", July 22, 2015.
The Sun Herald, 'Leonard A. Collins', January 30, 2016.