William “Bill” Collins, 90, son of William Charlie and Rachael Elizabeth (Clark) Collins, was born May 13, 1921, in Ardmore, Okla. He passed away June 18, 2011, at University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, Mo.
As a young man, Bill, also known to his family as Jimmy, moved to California, leaving farming and his watermelon crop behind. Shortly afterward, he was drafted into the Army and proudly served his country in World War II in Honolulu from 1942-1945. During the nine months he spent on Makin Island, he had a close call with a Japanese bomber with bombs falling one after another in front of him. After a heartfelt prayer of rededication to God, the bomber stopped bombing just short of him.
Just before being drafted, he met Ganelle Francis Davidson in July 1942 at a church camp meeting. They courted each other for three months, corresponded for three years during his deployment and were married on Nov. 18, 1945, just 12 days after he was honorably discharged. Bill and Ganelle were married for 56 years before her death in 2002.
Bill’s many jobs included working at a chicken ranch, a prune orchard and General Electric. He retired as a journeyman plater from Monasco in the 1980s. He was a kind, gentle man of few words, but when he spoke, you knew it was worth listening to. He taught us many things, gave us great memories of times shared and beautiful gardens he cared for at his home. He loved his family, gardening, and was devoted to God and his church. He will be missed, but we are assured we will see him again in Heaven.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Ganelle (Davidson) Collins; four brothers, Chick, Donnie, Charley and Jack; and five sisters, Lorene, Ruby, Leona, Neoami and Juanita.
He is survived by one sister, Ruth Gardner of Kingfisher, Okla.; his son and daughter-in-love, Dennis and Sharon Collins of Success, Mo.; daughter and son-in-love, Sharon and Fred Moore; six grandchildren; 19 great grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; and a slew of nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 24, at Evans Funeral Home. Funeral services are 10 a.m. Saturday, June 24, at Faith Fellowship Church with Pastors Bill Villapiano and Clair Uitts officiating. Graveside services including military honors will follow at Pinelawn Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Faith Fellowship Mission Fund, P.O. Box 14, Houston, Mo., 65483. Online condolences may be sent to www.evansfh.com.