Cover photo for Thomas R. Collins's Obituary
Thomas R. Collins Profile Photo

Thomas R. Collins

SLINGERLANDS – Thomas Raymond Collins, 95, passed away peacefully on January 25, 2014 at the Eddy Village Green at Beverwyck.  Thomas was born on October 7, 1918 in Newark, New Jersey. He was the son of Raymond Taylor Collins and Marian (Amole) Collins. He grew up in the Atlantic City area and graduated from Pleasantville High School. He served in the U.S. Navy from October 1941 through August 1945, primarily as an aviation mechanic’s mate on the USS Barnes, an aircraft escort carrier deployed in the Pacific.  While on shore leave, he met his future wife, Marjorie A. Lakness, who resided in Hollywood, California. The couple married in 1945 and traveled by train across the country, ultimately settling in New Jersey and then New York City, to pursue higher education under the G.I. Bill of Rights. Thomas earned his Bachelor’s degree in History from Trenton State Teachers’ College and his M.A. From Columbia University.

As a teacher, Thomas continued his own education by taking numerous post-graduate courses at multiple universities in the Northeast. He held a series of progressively responsible positions in schools in New Jersey and Long Island. Thomas and Marjorie moved to Delmar in 1971 when he was employed as the social studies curriculum coordinator for the Bethlehem public schools. After their first retirement, they went overseas for a two-year contract with the International School in Tehran, Iran. Subsequently, he taught in the Department of Defense school for children of servicemen in Okinawa, Japan, while Marjorie worked in that school’s office.

Thomas was an avid golfer and passionate reader. Even in his last year, he enjoyed discussing current events and their historical context. He also loved to sing and listen to jazz.

Thomas was preceded in death by his beloved wife; his parents; a sister, Ruth Wooten Chase; and two brothers, Howard Collins, and Raymond T. Collins, Jr.  He is survived by one sister, Doris Jacobs of California, and his two children, John Collins (Dorothy), an attorney residing in Willingboro, New Jersey, and Susan Collins, a retired archaeologist in Boulder, Colorado. There are three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews throughout the United States.

Thomas was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany. It was his desire to donate his body to science. A memorial will take place at a later date.  To leave a message of condolence for the family or send a sympathy card, please visit

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