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Thomas L. Collins
January 22, 2024
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Major Thomas Lambert Collins, USAF (Retired), 81, of Locke, NY passed away peacefully on January 22, 2024 in Ithaca, NY.
Tom was born November 30th, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY to the late Virginia Maria Poole and Thomas Joseph Collins.
In March of 1966, he was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC Program at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC where he earned a BA in French Language with a minor in Philosophy and went on to study French Literature.
After serving in Vietnam, Tom went on to dedicate 20 years of service to his country in his role as an Intelligence Systems Officer. During his career he was stationed around the world with his first wife Sheila A. McGuinn before settling in Scipio, NY, where she was buried in 1996. As an aerophile, retirement from the Air Force gave Tom the opportunity to turn his experience as a private pilot from an avocation into a vocation. He worked as a flight instructor for ExecAir in Syracuse, NY and then at Chase Field in Cortland, NY and was able to share his expertise with new pilots while he continued to explore the world.
In 1998, Tom married Valerie Inez Duckro Myers. During their 20 years of marriage, Tom and Val toured around the US and Europe. The passion Tom had developed during his military career for other cultures and languages remained a focus throughout his life. Almost every conversation would find its way to a linguistic connection or word play in any number of languages.
He was a devoted member of the St Patrick’s Catholic Church of Moravia, a member of the Good Shepherd Catholic Community. With Val, Tom led their music ministry, providing vocal and instrumental music at masses, weddings, and funerals at the church. Tom also led the choir for many years and accompanied them on the organ.
Tom was an extremely active Rotarian with the Moravia Rotary Club, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow, Benefactor, and also their Membership Coordinator for the past few years. He was passionate about various Rotary projects both internationally and locally. Tom’s community mindedness extended to the Moravia Hope Pantry. As a board member he helped to coordinate the donation and distribution of household supplies and personal care items in addition to groceries. He was always on the lookout for ways to connect corners of the community to best support his neighbors.
Tom is survived by his children; Stefan E. Myers of Evergreen, CO; Alexis L. Myers of Locke, NY; Curtis L. Myers (Laura Havill) of Ithaca, NY; and Kathryn (Paul) Martinez of St. George, UT; as well as grandchildren Raymond Martinez, Natalie and Chase Delosh and his younger siblings: Joseph (Fay) Collins of Ellicott City, MD; Maureen (Jimmy) Armiger of Greenville, NC; William Collins of Owings, MD; Kathleen (Dennis) Naranga of Perry Hall, MD; John (Jane) Collins of Millsboro, DL; and Kevin (Bonnie) Collins of Laurel, MD as well as 16 nieces and nephews.
Family will receive friends from 3-5p on Saturday, January 27th, 2024 at the Wade Funeral Home, 22 Church Street, Moravia. Interment will be in Saint Bernard Cemetery, Scipio Center, NY at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to Moravia Food Pantry by mail to PO Box 462, 76 West Cayuga St., Moravia, MY 13118 or through direct donations of stock to the pantry.