ROCK HILL – Retired U. S. Army Major Melvin (Mel) P. Collins, 93, passed away on the morning of Monday, January 8, 2018. He was born on December 5, 1924 in the small town of East Hampstead, NH to Adele and Perley L. Collins.
He is survived by his sister, Gladys Houle; his brother, Robert Collins and wife Virginia; his daughter, Rebecca Adams and husband Ralph; his son, Mel Collins, Jr. and wife Patricia; six grandchildren, Christopher Collins (Jess), Andrew Collins, Kelley Chapman (Nick), Kimberly Campbell (Jim), Kristen Lowry (Kevin) and Michael Adams (Stephanie); and six great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Sibyl Elizabeth Collins and his wife, Mildred Hammond Collins who he later married following Sibyl’s death.
Mel Collins served his country with distinction in both World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired after more than twenty years of service to his country with the rank of Major in 1963. Following his retirement from the military, he rekindled his boyhood love of printing and launched, with Sibyl, a very successful family business in Columbia, SC – Collins Printing.
Our father was a born entrepreneur. As a child, he created and sold copies of his own homemade newspaper to report on the happenings within his small town and in doing so developed a love of storytelling and the printed word. His flair for storytelling ruffled quite a few feathers as he wrote and printed, verbatim, local rumors concerning the town’s populace. But even at this young age he proved to be both entertaining and oh so willing to share exactly what was on his mind – traits that never diminished throughout his life.
Dad’s other passion, shared by Sibyl, was gardening. After a number of years, he sold the family business and moved from Columbia to the small town of Chapin, SC where he and Sibyl created Collins Vineyard and Nursery. He raised grapes, scuppernongs, muscadines, blueberries and tomatoes while Sibyl became an acclaimed hybridizer of daylilies, including the daylily she named “Mel’s Folly”.
During dad’s marriage to the late Mildred Hammond Collins, they traveled extensively, visiting Alaska, Canada and many other amazing ports of call throughout the world.
After an onset of congestive heart failure, he moved from Chapin to Rock Hill, SC to live with daughter Becky and her husband Ralph. This was one of the happiest times of his life as he fell in love with their menagerie of dogs, cats and various ducks and enjoyed Becky’s home cooking. He was a lifelong fisherman and spent time each day at their two fishing ponds (lovingly assisted by Joanne Jenkins).
In the final portion of his life, as his health failed, he became a resident of Morningside of Rock Hill where once again he became known and loved by fellow residents for his colorful stories and his keen sense of humor.
Throughout his life, Major Collins, our dad, displayed a gift for love and fellowship. He loved his Lord. He loved and was loved by his neighbors and friends. His devoted family loved him. He was admired by his many hundreds of loyal customers throughout the years. All who knew him will miss him terribly.
The family thanks you for your kind expressions of condolence and for your many prayers. We particularly wish to thank the residents and staff of Morningside of Rock Hill for making his final months so happy and thank the nurses and doctors at Piedmont Medical Center who provided such compassionate end-of-life care.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at Greene Funeral Home Northwest Chapel, 2133 Ebenezer Rd, Rock Hill, SC from 10:15 -10:45 a.m. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m.