Robert W. Collins, Sr.

Born: Thu., Jan. 13, 1921
Died: Thu., Mar. 29, 2012

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Robert W. Collins, Sr. Pendleton attorney, Robert Bob Winfield Collins, Sr., died on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at Juniper House in Pendleton. Robert was born in Greenup, Kentucky on January 13, 1921, to James Collins and Sarah Worthington Collins, the fifth of six children. His early life was spent on a small family farm in the hills of eastern Kentucky where he developed his lifelong love of the outdoors, hunting, fishing and farming. After high school, Robert felt the call of the wild and hopped a train to "the West," landing in Idaho with his brother Bill. He then enlisted in the Army Air Corps, several years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, where he was trained as a flight mechanic, gunner, and crew chief. He was on active duty when the United States entered World War II in 1941. He rose to the rank of Master Sergeant. He was stationed during the war throughout the South Pacific, including Australia, New Guinea, Burma, Java and India, where he "flew the hump" on supply missions to China. He served in one of the few B-17 units in the Pacific theater, and flew on numerous missions under fire as a gunner and crew chief. After the war, Robert returned to Kentucky and enrolled at Ashland Junior College, where he met his future wife, Ruth Mae Brooks. They married on September 14, 1946. Robert went on to Centre College of Kentucky and earned his law degree at Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, Tennessee. Robert convinced Ruth that Oregon was their next stop and they moved to Salem, Oregon in 1951 where their first child, Robert W. Collins, Jr., was born. Bob and Ruth moved to Pendleton in 1951, where their other three children, Michael, Kimberlee, and John, were born. Bob soon joined the Pendleton law firm of Raley, Kilkenny & Raley and began a long and satisfying legal career. For several years he was also a partner in the law firm of Fabre, Collins & Kottkamp with his friends Harold Fabre and John Kottkamp. After his sons Michael and Robert became lawyers and moved back to Pendleton, Robert founded the Pendleton law firm, Collins & Collins, in 1980, where he spent the rest of his career, practicing law with his sons. In 2001, he was recognized by the Oregon State Bar for 50 years of distinguished legal service in Oregon. Bob was a member of the Oregon State Bar, Pendleton Elks Club, Kiwanis Club, past member of the Kentucky Bar Association and was active in the Girl Scouts of America. Robert loved to hunt and fish and one of his greatest joys was teaching his many grandkids to fish. He and Ruth loved salmon fishing on the Oregon coast, traveling with friends and picking berries and mushrooming in the Blue Mountains. His greatest pleasure came from the many family celebrations and events at the family home that he and Ruth built on McKay Creek. Bob loved the Wallowa Mountains and took the kids on many pack trips to the high lakes. Bob was predeceased by his parents and five siblings. After Ruth's death in 2004, Bob married a childhood friend, Mary Emily Thompson of Louisville, Kentucky. He is survived by his second wife, Mary Emily, children Robert W. Collins, Jr. Donna, Michael B. Collins Shannon, Kimberlee C. Morrow Vern, John K. Collins, eleven grandchildren and four great grandchildren; and Mary Emily's children, Steve Thompson and Sarah Rankin of Louisville, Kentucky and Anne Lanz of Birmingham, Alabama. Disposition will be by cremation. Family Inurnment will be held on Friday, May 4th, at 2:00 P.M. at Olney Cemetery in Pendleton. A memorial service will be held Friday, May 4th at 3:30 P.M. at the First Presbyterian Church in Pendleton. Anyone wishing to make contributions on behalf of Robert may donate to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America or St. Anthony's Home Health and Hospice, through Burns Mortuary of Pendleton, PO Box 489, Pendleton, OR 97801. Send condolences by signing the online guestbook at Burns Mortuary of Pendleton handled arrangements.

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