Thomas William Collier

Published 11:11 pm Friday, July 29, 2016

Thomas William Collier

Thomas William Collier

Thomas William (Tom) Collier was born September 16, 1927 to Joseph Wheeler Collier and Gladys Wales Collier who were sharecroppers in Limestone County, Alabama, and died on July 28, 2016 at Athens Rehabilitation and Senior Care in Athens, AL. at the age of 88. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Ruth Collier Locke, his brother Joseph Hagen Collier, his first wife Mildred Rose Collier and his second wife June Mabray Collier.  Visitation with the family will be on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. at McConnell Funeral Home with a service to follow at 11:00 and burial at Roselawn Cemetery.  Grandsons Matt Pearson and Tom Collier will officiate. Because he lived for almost 50 years in Troy, AL and has so many friends there, a memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Troy on Sunday, August 7, 2016 with a time to visit with family at 1:00 p.m.

He is survived by his children Connie Pearson (Steve), Andy Collier (Linda) all of Athens, Lisa Collier of Birmingham, his 5 grandchildren Laura Baggett (David), Matt Pearson (Katie), Julie Rodgers (Brian), Tom Collier (Lindsay), Becky Collier and 14 great grandchildren. He is also survived by 2 stepchildren Pam Mabray Gardner (Randy), Mike Mabray (Val) and 5 step grandchildren Matthew Johnson (Nikki), Caitlin Watwood, Ashlynn Gardner, Houston Mabray, Bailee Mabray and 2 step great grandchildren Madison and Tyler Johnson.  He leaves behind a beloved cousin, Buford Wales, brothers-in-law Milton Looney, Lowell Smith and Oliver Street, sisters-in-law Gloria Rose Smith, June Rose Street, Joyce Marbut Rose, Marjorie Smith Rose and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mr. Collier received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Athens State University and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Mobile.  He was heavily involved in education in Limestone County, beginning as a school bus driver at the age of 16. He went on to coach sports teams, to teach at Clements High School and to be a principal of the former Wheeler Elementary.  He was a mathematician at Redstone Arsenal before being asked to go to Troy, AL and serve as the Assistant Superintendent of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home in 1960.  He and his family moved to Decatur, AL in 1968 so that he could oversee the building of a Children’s Home campus there, but he moved back to Troy in 1975. He devoted himself to those children and to that ministry and spoke about it in hundreds of churches across Alabama.  He retired as the Executive Director of the Home in 1990.

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Mr. Collier was saved and baptized as a teenager at Fairview Baptist Church in Limestone County. He was ordained as a deacon at First Baptist Church of Athens in the early 1950’s and served in many positions of leadership. At First Baptist Church of Troy, he was a frequent teacher for his beloved Baraca Class and was honored as a Deacon Emeritus in 2015.

Mr. Collier was a member of the Rotary Club for many years.  He could play the piano and the harmonica by ear with a particular fondness for the key of D-flat. He was a shrewd Rook player, was a great rememberer of names and numbers and loved buying and selling houses.

Pallbearers will be Mike Mabray, Matthew Johnson, Tim Collier, Steven Smith, Tom Collier and Steve Pearson.

Memorials may be made to the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries, 2681 Rocky Ridge Lane, Birmingham, AL 35216 or to the charity of your choice.