Robert James Collins was born Robert Francis McMenomey in New York City in 1924. His birth mother, Anna McMenomey died of appendicitis when he was nine months old. He was adopted by Charles Malmene Collins and Louise Seyfried Collins of New Rochelle, New York when he was three years old. Bob attended St. Gabriel’s in New Rochelle then continued on to Iona College for both his bachelor’s and master’s degree.
He joined the U.S. Army and served in the 11th Airborne as a second lieutenant at Ft. Benning, Ga., and overseas in Japan. On his last day of active service, Bob attended a cocktail party where he looked across the room and saw the love of his life, Lois Healey of Mamaroneck. They were married on Oct. 25, 1952. Lois supported Bob as he completed his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Fordham University, and began his successful 37-year career in the textile fibers division at E. I. du Pont de Nemours.
Following his retirement in Wilmington, NC, Bob became focused in improving his poetry, so he went back to the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and completed a B.A. in fine arts. He worked hard as a poet, his work having been published in several books. He became active in the North Carolina Poetry Society where he served as president. He also enjoyed music especially guitar playing as well as traveling all over the world, building kayaks, gardening, woodworking, painting, and cooking; he was truly a renaissance man.
Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Lois.
He is survived by three children, Claudia Collins of Arlington, VA; Pam O’Connell (Jim) of Chattanooga; and Mark Collins (Sharon) of Knoxville; six grandchildren, Melissa Kinsey and Adam Kinsey of Chattanooga; Savannah Collins-Key, Rachel Collins, and Amanda Collins, all of Knoxville; and Cate Jensen of New York City, NY., and four great-grandchildren, Ashley Johnson, Hailey Johnson, and Trey Johnson, of Chattanooga, and Wyatt Collins-Key of Knoxville.
Family will receive friends in the narthex at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Soddy Daisy, from 7-8 p.m. with a funeral mass to follow at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 22. Burial will take place in Wilmington, NC, at Sea Lawn Cemetery on Tuesday, April 25, at 10 a.m.
Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, Tn. 37343.
Please share your thoughts and memories at www.chattanooganorthchapel.com.