William Clyde Collins, 101, of Blairsville, Georgia, went home to heaven on May 17, 2023 surrounded by his family after a period of declining health.
Clyde was born on November 7, 1921 to William Harve and Northa Maybell Dyer Collins in the Choestoe District of Union County. He was raised on their family farm that borders the Nottley River. Preceding Clyde in death are his parents, sisters Wilonell Collins Dyer and Alda Marie Collins Knight, both of Blairsville and his daughter Carolyn Collins Kelly, of Lilburn.
After graduating from Union County High School in 1938, he went on to study education at Young Harris College. Clyde was employed as a teacher at Harmony Grove Elementary School, which had 23 students in grades 1st through 7th in his first teaching role in 1940. He worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority on the construction of the Nottely Dam during the summer and returned to teaching the following fall at Town Creek Elementary School.
In 1940, Clyde met Roma Sue Turner of Blairsville and they married in 1942. Clyde and Sue raised four children in Union County, William (Bill); wife Martha, Carolyn(deceased); husband Bob Kelly, Debbie; husband Ronald Gailey, and Carlton; wife Donna.
Clyde is a veteran and honorably served his country when called into World War II serving in the Army Air Corp as a team leader and mechanic. Clyde served in a variety of stateside locations from December 1942 until February 1946 obtaining the rank, of Sergeant.
Received American Theater Ribbon, Victory Medal WWII Good Conduct Medal
When Clyde returned home, he spent his entire career devoted to the children of UnionCounty as an educator and administrator. He obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Georgia in 1949 and taught history at Union County High School. He obtained a Master's in School Administration from Western Carolina University in 1964 and was named principal of Town Creek and Ivy Log Elementary Schools before being named principal of Union County High School in 1968. In 1976 the citizens of Union County voted Mr. Collins as Superintendent of Schools where he served for four years.
In 1981, Mr. Collins retired from education after serving for more than 41 years in Union County. Some of his proudest memories were hearing from past students and learning of their success, teaching veterans at night so they could complete their GED's and working to bring Head Start to Union County. He was proud to have accomplished everything he ever dreamed of in education during his career.
Mr. Collins' greatest accomplishment was his family. He had four children, 13 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Clyde was known for asking his family about their school activities, their grades and counseling them on their education. As a devoted fan of the University of Georgia, he was proud to proclaim that 14 of his decedents are graduates of the University System of Georgia.
He raised his family in church and was a member of Choestoe Baptist Church, the oldest church in Union County, serving as a Church Trustee, Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday school teacher, and Deacon. Mr. Collins continued to serve as Deacon Emeritus until his death.
The family will receive friends on May 20, 2023 at Cochran Funeral Home, Blairsville from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A service to celebrate his life will be held on May 21, 2023 at 2:30 p.m. at Choestoe Baptist Church with interment including military honors following in the church cemetery. Pastor John Thompson, along with retired pastor Dick Stillwell will officiate the service. He will lie in state from 2:00 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Choestoe Baptist Church General Fund, 41 Choestoe Church Road, Blairsville, GA 30512.
Cochran Funeral Home, Blairsville is honored to serve the Collins Family.