Jim was born Nov. 12, 1913, in Virgil Township, Vernon County, Mo., to William and Mabel Collins. He attended Keck and Willow Grove grade schools and high school at Walker and El Dorado Springs, Mo. On July 5, 1945, Jim married Alta Pettit. For six years, Jim served in the 15th U.S. Air Force. During World War II he flew 35 combat missions against Germany and occupied Europe. As a result, Jim received many medals for his service including the Purple Heart.
Before moving to the Kansas City area, Jim lived most of his life in Vernon County. Faith, family, and love of country have been most important to Jim. He also loved nature and music. For many years, Jim served as the music director for Calvary Baptist Church in Nevada. Jim always encouraged others and had a positive perspective. He lived by the scripture, "This is the day the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."
Jim was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Alta Faye Collins, in 2009; his parents; and siblings, Opal Lorane Prouty, Gladys Veneta Haynes, Wilma Adaline Geller, and Marshall Dee Collins.
Jim is survived by his children, James Earl Collins and wife, Janis, of Nevada, Mo., William Wesley Collins and wife, Melinda, of Raymore, Mo., Marvalee Faye Collins, of Olathe, Kan., and Peggy Jean Bonine and husband, Bill, of Gardner, Kan.; sister, Mildren Bea Kinghorn of Minneapolis, Minn.; 10 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.
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