Saturday, January 20, 2024
10:00 AM EST
Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church
2100 Chelsea Road NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49505
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
National Kidney Foundation of Michigan
1169 Oak Valley Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
A family man through and through, Tom Collins leaves his loved ones with a rich legacy of being a strong role model and an exceptionally committed person to those he loved. Known for his strong work ethic and always putting others first, Tom would do anything to help others in need. There is no doubt that he will be deeply missed by his many special friends and family for generations to come.
The year 1944 was well known for June 6th as D-Day during the WWII conflict. The war postponed both the Winter and Summer Olympics that year and brought hardship for many throughout the world. Yet, there was also the music of Bing Crosby, the notable works of Tennessee Williams as well as The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet on the radio. John and Zola Collins welcomed home their youngest son, Thomas Leroy, on January 4th, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His birth brought much hope and happiness to the family home.
Tom grew up with a set of hardworking parents who raised him with a strong foundation of faith at the local Episcopal church. His father was a gardener and chauffeur for the Del Mar Estate while his mother worked at the Schnitz Deli. As a youngster, he enjoyed playing outdoors in Plaster Creek as well as trying out all kinds of sports. Once in high school, he excelled on the baseball and basketball teams before graduating with the Class of 1962 from Ottawa Hills High School. The day after graduation, he enlisted in the U.S.Navy. Basic training was in San Diego. During his time in the service, he trained as a meteorologist while serving in Puerto Rico and Newfoundland. Once he was discharged, he put the GI Bill to good use towards an Associates Degree in Engineering at Grand Rapids Junior College.
During college, he picked up his mother from work and was introduced to her co-worker, Linda Madsen. Tom was immediately smitten and asked her out to the original “Alfie”. A year later, they were married on January 26, 1968, at Grace Episcopal Church followed by a reception at the Westside Union Hall. Tom was still completing his studies, so they were unable to take a formal honeymoon before settling back into their home on Oakcliff Drive NE. Together they welcomed home four wonderful boys; Christopher, Troy, Larry, and Jeff.
Tom and Linda lived a beautiful life together, but it was not without hardships. Their oldest son, Christopher, died of SIDS at one year old. Later, Larry was tragically killed in a car accident across from Tom’s work (Rapistan) at one and a half years of age. Both Tom and Linda were supported by their community of family and friends to see them through the tragic loss of both of their boys.
As a dad, Tom was always present. He used humor to ease their troubles and patiently waited up for them to make sure they were safely home before retiring to bed. As a family, they took countless vacations and enjoyed hosting social gatherings with friends and family. He encouraged his boys to show integrity and grit in anything they set out to accomplish in life. Tom lovingly accepted the paths they took in life. In addition to his boys, his work family became a part of his family. Tom worked for over thirty-two years at Rapistan where he was highly respected for his leadership and attention to detail. He and Linda loved to keep everyone in the company connected by hosting large gatherings at their home. Tom also started the company golf league and later a softball team as well as planned the annual picnic for employees and their families. His strong work ethic was a great example for his boys as they stepped out in the world.
Tom and Linda enjoyed many good years in retirement. Tom was known to play at least three rounds of golf a week with friends and/or family. They also loved to travel and host friends over to their home for dinner. Blessed with grandchildren, Tom was always very supportive. He attended many of their special events and loved to cheer them on in any endeavor. Above all else, he loved to laugh and found great joy in teasing them! Described as compassionate and kind, Tom will surely be missed. His wisdom along with his sense of humor will always be treasured. A wonderful man to know and to love, he always wanted the best for his family. May the warm memories of their years together remain in their hearts forevermore.
Thomas Leroy Collins of Hudsonville, Michigan passed away peacefully in his home on Monday, January 15th, 2024 at the age of 80. Tom was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Tom was married to the love of his life, Linda (Madsen) Collins for almost 56 years. Tom will be lovingly remembered by his wife Linda; son, Troy and Heather Collins and grandchildren, Carleigh and Ryan Ritzema, great granddaughter, Remi Mae; grandchildren, Chandler and Clayton Collins; son, Jeff and Sara Collins and grandchildren, Kayla, Tyler, and Alayna Collins; and brother John and Donella Collins. He is preceded in death by parents, John and Zola Collins; sons, Christopher Sean and Lawrence Todd; grandchildren, Rachel Lael and Darin Collins; and sister, Winifred Hayes.
Tom served in the US Navy as a meteorologist from 1962-1966. Tom worked as an engineer at Rapistan for 32 years. Tom enjoyed traveling with Linda, playing golf, landscaping in his yard, and most of all spending time with his family. Funeral services will be held at 12 PM on Saturday, January 20, 2024, at Beckwith Hills CRC, 2100 Chelsea, Grand Rapids with Rev. Jeremy Visser officiating. Private family burial will take place at Fairplains Cemetery. Relatives and friends may meet the family, beginning at 10 AM Saturday prior to the service. Those who wish may make memorial contributions to the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. (Nfkm.org). Flowers may be delivered to Van Strien-Creston Chapel, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. The family wishes to thank the Hospice staff (Jessica, Shandra, and Gus) for their compassionate care given to Tom. To leave a memory or sign the online guestbook, please visit www.heritagelifestory.com.