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816 W. Broadway
PO Box 407
Winnsboro, TX 75494
Phone: 903-342-5211
Robert Collins

Wayne Collins

Sunday, August 10, 1924 - Sunday, January 27, 2019
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Robert Wayne Collins, a life-long resident of Mineola, died at age 94, at home, on Sunday, January 27, 2019. Wayne was born in Mineola on August 10, 1924, the only son of Thomas Aubry (“Rip”) and Beulah Kathryn (“Peck”) Collins. He graduated from Mineola High School in 1941 and went on to Rice University (then called the Rice Institute). His studies were interrupted by Naval service as a commissioned officer in World War II in the Pacific. After the war, Wayne completed a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering at Rice on the G.I. Bill, through which he also obtained his pilot’s license. Wayne remained in the Naval Reserve after the war, eventually retiring at the rank of Captain.

After graduating from Rice, Wayne joined his father in the family business – then Collins dry cleaning, tailoring, and mensware -- in Mineola. That same year, 1948, Wayne married Frances McBride and the following year they built the house on North Johnson St. in Mineola where they resided until their deaths. From the early 1950s, Wayne served as a civic leader on many fronts in Mineola and beyond, twice as President of the Chamber of Commerce, as the leader of various civic initiatives, on planning and zoning boards, and as President of the Texas Retail Federation. Having worked with his father to expand the Mineola “Collins” store to include women’s clothing in the 1950s, in 1962, Wayne opened a second store in Athens. Another followed in Bergfeld Center in Tyler in 1967. He briefly operated a second store in Mineola in the late 60s (called "Dana's”) and for a decade in the late 70s-early 80s, a fourth store also operated in Broadway square mall in Tyler. An east Texas landmark, the Collins stores (and Wayne!) lived up to their motto: “First in Fashion, Value, Service.” In 1995, Wayne took his first retirement, when he closed the Collins stores. (Actually it was his second retirement, if you count his twenty years of naval reserve service.) Soon after the store closing, Wayne went to work at First Service Bank, an institution which he had helped found and for which he had previously served as Chairman of the Board. He failed retirement from that position, too, carrying on afterwards as the chair of the Wood County airport board, yet another institution he had helped found, and which was renamed Wood County Airport Collins Field in his honor in 2017. He recently retired from that role as well, although he continued to lead formation flying clinics and play trumpet with the Lake Country Orchestra, among many other activities. He was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, and a dedicated member of the Rotary Club. Most recently, the Mineola Chamber of Commerce honored him with a lifetime entrepreneur award and he served as the Grand Marshal of Mineola’s 2018 Christmas Parade.

After his family, flying was the love and constant of Wayne’s life. As a toddler he had a pedal-plane instead of the usual tricycle! Wayne flew his beloved single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza N850T around the world twice (and partially many other times!), served as the founding organizer for formation flights to annual fly-ins at Oshkosh since 1990, provided help to families needing transportation to specialized medical care through Angel Flights, introduced numerous young people to flying through the Young Eagle program, and delivered two single-engine planes to medical missionaries in Africa for Wings of Hope.

Wayne was pre-deceased by his beloved wife, Frances. He is survived by his children Craig (Lori), Corey, Cristle (Robert), and Clay (Jana), and grandchildren Alexis, Sophie, Brittany, Chelsea, Katie, Hannah, Sarah, Wesley, Spencer and Elizabeth, as well as several nieces and nephews.

The family requests memorials gifts in lieu of flowers. In a sign of just how many organizations Wayne was committed to, the family found it hard to narrow down the list, but suggests that memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Mineola, the Mineola Civic Center endowment, Angel Flight (, the National Alliance for Mental Illness (, or to any of the other civic organizations with which Wayne was connected.

Arrangements are being handled by Beaty Funeral Home in Mineola. The funeral service will be held at First Baptist Church on Saturday afternoon, February 2 at 2 p.m., with visitation beforehand at the church at 1 p.m. Graveside service with veteran’s burial honors will follow in Roselawn Memorial Gardens. After the burial, the family invites all to join for a reception at Wood County Airport Collins Field.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Saturday, February 2, 2019 | 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    Saturday, February 2, 2019 1:00pm - 2:00pm
    First Baptist Church - Mineola
    204 N. Johnson St.
    Mineola, Texas 75773
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, February 2, 2019 | 2:00pm
    Saturday, February 2, 2019 2:00pm
    First Baptist Church - Mineola
    204 N. Johnson St.
    Mineola, Texas 75773
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Dr. Mark Neeley
  • Interment

    Saturday, February 2, 2019 | 3:00pm
    Saturday, February 2, 2019 3:00pm
    Roselawn Memorial Garden
    5396 S State Highway 37
    Mineola, Texas 75773
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Edmond Schaded

Posted at 10:51am
It was with much sadness that the few of us remaining from our early Navy Reserve days in Tyler learned of Wayne's passing. There is a close bond of friendship among Navy shipmates that we all foster and cherish for a lifetime. Wayne was one of those shipmates who was special throughout our Navy experiences for over 40 years and one who will always be remembered as a true friend and patriot. In the words of those Mariners who have sailed on the seas over time, we wish Wayne "A fair wind and a following sea". May God bless him. Captain Ed Schaded, USNR (ret), Tyler

Wendy Ledkins

Posted at 12:10pm
Me. Wayne, will be missed greatly by his Friends and Family in the Mineola Community. He was a kind gentle man who loved being involved in his community with his friends & family. Unique gentleman raised in a time of history, were your word and handshake Was your oath and bond set in stone. He fought in the Military to serve and protect his Homeland, USA. Yes, Mr Wayne I will miss your constant presence in the halls of First Baptist Church, Mineola, TX. Your fight has been won, you have finished your earthly raise! Fly to Jesus, he is waiting for you!!! Respectfully, Wendy Ledkins

The Texas V-Tails

Posted at 08:52am
To our mentor, inspiration and friend. Blue skies and tailwinds always.
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Joe Sasser

Posted at 08:01am
Wayne was such a wonderful person, a wonder friend, and a wonderful inspiration to Konnie and I. We will greatly miss Wayne and forever fondly remember our times spent together.
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A donation was made in memory of Wayne Collins

Connie Ferguson and Perky Sanford

Posted at 10:37pm
My deepest sympathy and prayers for all the family. Your Dad was always such fun when I saw him in the store, at church and around town through years. He was quick with smile. I remember watching him take people up for a brief plane ride during an big event years ago. He was hot and tired, but smiled and continued to make. so many landings that day. (I have forgotten what that event was, but it was a almost festival.). He was ‘larger than life.’

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