On August 1, 2019, Thomas (“Tom”) Frederick Collins, Jr., returned to be with his Lord and Savior after a courageous battle with a terminal illness. Tom was surrounded by family to the very end and, as always, exhibited grace, courage, selflessness and positivity. Tom was the best husband, father, son and brother one could ask for and was a positive influence on anyone that knew him. He steadfastly believed everything happened for a reason and that everything would work out how it was supposed to in the end. His entire life was a celebration of these ideas.
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Beginning early in his childhood in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Tom exhibited these characteristics, amongst others. He was bright, honest, caring, independent and even a little bit ornery during his formative years as his parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. Fred Collins Sr., and his brother and sister, Lorenzo Collins and Laura Clay, would tell you. These traits served him well throughout his life and during his time at Ardmore High School where he enjoyed journalism, excelled academically and graduated in 1967.
Tom matriculated at the University of Oklahoma in the Fall of 1967 where he joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and his love of OU Football was on full display. The relationships Tom made at the University of Oklahoma and in his fraternity were life-long. It was at OU where he met friends such as John and Elaine Bruno and many, many others he cherished. Tom graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1971 with a degree in political science and followed in his father’s footsteps to the University of Oklahoma Law School.
After completing his first year of Law School at OU, Tom decided to pursue other endeavors and ultimately found his passion and life’s work in banking. From his first days with Central National Bank in downtown Oklahoma City, to his decades of service in Hinton, Blanchard and Oklahoma City with Legacy Bank where he ultimately became the bank’s Chief Financial Officer, Tom was well liked by his co-workers and even more respected by his peers as his ability to focus, his attention to detail and his work ethic were always to be commended. During this time period, Tom had children Mallory Love Clark and Thomas F. Collins, III, whom he could not have been more proud. It was also during this time period that he met the love of his life and wife of over 30 years, D’lila Collins, who was at his side until the very end, and had children Natalie Collins and Allison Collins, whom he could not have been more proud and whom he absolutely adored. Tom’s family meant everything to him and he believed his choice of banking as a profession would allow him to spend more time with his family and on his other passions.
Tom’s other passions included his love of the outdoors. He loved his dogs and to take them quail hunting, he loved to go fishing at any opportunity, he loved to cycle long distances and, in his later years, loved to garden. Tom never met a stranger but also cherished his independence. Understanding this, his family, and in particular his wife D’lila, gave him his freedom and independence which was the greatest gift anyone could have given Tom. His love of travel often times combined his love of the outdoors and his independent nature. Some of his favorite places in world were at the far ends of the earth at places like Tikchik Narrows Lodge in Alaska where he loved to salmon fish and the Seychelles Islands off the coast of Africa. If Tom made his mind up to do something, there was nothing that could stop him.
There are not enough kind words to describe Tom and his life. Our husband, father, brother and son was so many things to so many people. He was headstrong and direct while caring and supportive, he was wise beyond his years yet lived every day to the fullest, he was fun and creative yet a brilliant businessman and very detail oriented and he was quiet and soft spoken but when he did speak, people listened. Very simply, Tom was an amazing man that lived a wonderful life worth celebrating. All those that knew him were lucky to be a part of it. He will be missed greatly but we can all take solace in knowing that Tom is now free from the body that so constrained him in his final days. His unbridled passion and independence are free again. We will miss him greatly!
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. Fred Collins, Sr., and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. L.T. Love, all of Ardmore, Oklahoma. Tom is survived by his wife, D’lila Collins of Oklahoma City, his children, Allison Collins, Mallory Love Clark and her husband Billy, Natalie Collins and Thomas Frederick Collins, III, and his wife, Erica, all of Oklahoma City, and five grandchildren, Barron Clark, Elinor Love Clark, Isabella Clark, Harper Collins and Thomas F. Collins, IV. Tom is also survived by his brother, Lorenzo Collins and his wife, Becky, his sister Laura Clay and her husband, Garland, all of Ardmore, Oklahoma. In addition to the foregoing, Tom is survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews and their significant others which are too numerous to count but all of which played a central role in making Tom the person he was throughout his life.
Memorial Services for Tom will be held on August 10, 2019, at 10:00 a.m., at Vondel L. Smith Mortuary North located at 13125 N. MacArthur Blvd., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73142. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Baptist Integris Hospice House located at 13920 Quailbrook Drive, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73134 or a charity of your choosing.