Mr. Wilbur C. Collins, 84, died March 5,
2006. Our husband, father, grandfather and brother left the world as he
lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace. Wilbur
always said to obey God, love your family and serve your country. He
certainly lived his belief.
Wilbur was a native of Jax. [Jacksonville, FL] and proudly served
in the US Army from 1940 until his retirement in 1978. He served with
the 504th, 503rd and 509th Parachute Infantry and the 82nd Airborne. His
career included America's first combat parachute insertion on November
8, 1942 in North Africa and was Missing in Action after a parachute
assault in Avellino, Italy. During WWII Wilbur made three combat jumps
and one beach assault.
Wilbur was a founding member of Victory Baptist Church where he
served as a Deacon. He established the Sunshine State Coachman Club,
serving as the local and state chaplain. Wilbur spent many years
traveling the United States as a Christian messenger to fellow
travelers. Wilbur was blessed with two wonderful wives, Joyce Collins,
whom he married in 1999 and Viola Rigdon Collins, to whom he was married
for 53 years before her death in 1998. Survivors include his wife, Joyce
Collins; 2 children: Shirley (Winston) Sapp and Billy Collins; 2
grandchildren: Tim (Jeanne) Sapp and David (Samantha) Collins; 4 great
grandchildren: Sydnei Sapp, Carson Sapp, Brooke Collins and Jared
Collins; 1 brother: Robert Collins; 3 step-sons: David (Wanda) Smith,
Steve Smith and Larry Smith.
Wilbur was a member, usher and worked with the Visitation Program
at North Jacksonville Baptist Church, 8535 N. Main St., where funeral
services will be held at 11:00 AM on Wed., March 8, 2006 with Dr. Herb
Reavis officiating. Burial will follow in Evergreen Cemetery with
Military Honors. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 PM on
Tuesday (TODAY) at the North Jacksonville Chapel of PEEPLES FAMILY
FUNERAL HOMES, 2220 Soutel Dr., near Lem Turner Rd. Contributions may be
made in Wilbur's memory to the North Jacksonville Baptist Church
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Mar. 7,
(courtesy of "Johnny")
Grave marker for Wilbur C. Collins in Section 6 Block 3
of the Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville (Duval county), Florida.
Wilbur enlisted in the National Guard
at Jacksonville, FL on 25 November 1940. He was subsequently
assigned to the 509th PIR.
T/5 Collins was transferred from the
509th to the Service Co, Det #1 508th on 18 February 1945 and then to
the 13th Airborne on 10 March 1945.