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Cherokee County Obituaries

Darwin L. “Bill” Collins

©2021 Tahlequah Daily Press
August 01, 2012
Submitted by: Sabrina Anne Hitchcock

Services for Darwin L. “Bill” Collins will be held Thursday, Aug. 2, at 10 a.m., at the Cornerstone Fellowship Church of Tahlequah, with Pastor Allen Nolan officiating.

Visitation will be held Wednesday, Aug. 1, from noon until 8 p.m., at the Reed-Culver Chapel in Tahlequah. Interment will be held at Tahlequah City Cemetery.

Pallbearers for Bill include: Dower Combs, James Jackson, Kevin Jordan, David Hicks, Cale Fine, Marc Collins, Kenneth Thornton and Ricky Hicks. Honorary pallbearers include: Steve Young, Walter Johnson, Loville Bailey and John Phillips.

Darwin Lawton Collins, or Bill to his many friends and loved ones, was born April 10, 1926, in Combs Community, previously known as Ellerville, the son of Francis and Elizabeth (Combs) Collins.

At 16, Bill answered his country's call and joined the U.S. Navy, attaining the rank of Ships Fitter 3rd Class. He served aboard the escort carrier, U.S.S. Bismarck. On Feb. 21, 1945, the ship was off the coast of Iwo Jima when it was struck by two Japanese Kamikaze planes. The first plane struck the starboard side, crashing through the hanger deck, striking the ship's magazine. The second plane struck the aft elevator shaft, exploding on impact. The ship sank, with a loss of 318 men. Bill and the other survivors were forced to endure 12 hours in the dark, icy waters, before finally being rescued. Bill was awarded the Victory medal, the American Campaign medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with three stars, and the Philippine Liberation Campaign medal with two stars. Bill was honorably discharged March 3, 1946.

He returned to Oklahoma and settled in the Tahlequah area. He married and began a 29-year career as the general sales manager for Success Motor Company in Tahlequah, selling his favorite cars: Chevrolets. He loved hunting quail and fishing for the catch of the day. He was a loving husband and father to sons, Ronnie and Joe. He was a member of Kiwanis, the American Legion and the Quarterback Club.

He married MaeDean Carter Dec. 20, 1990, in Tahlequah. They would spend the next 21 years together, enjoying their grand and great-grandchildren, and each others company. Bill loved to spend time with family and friends, sharing a laugh or telling stories. He was fun to talk with, and possessed a great sense of humor.

A Christian by faith, Bill was a member of Cornerstone Fellowship Church of Tahlequah. The Lord called Bill to heavenly home on July 30, 2012, in Tahlequah, with his family by his side. He was 86 years old. He will be greatly missed for his smile, his wonderful laugh, and the love he gave to his family.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents; his step-father, Lester Davis; beloved daughter, Judy Stover in 2007; brothers and sisters, Sonny Dickerson, Lloyd Dickerson, Myrtle Dickerson, Lucy Dickerson, Jewel Wilcox-Adair, and Cleo Hall.

Those left behind to cherish his memory include his wife, MaeDean of the home in Tahlequah. Bill's children include his sons, Ronnie Collins and wife Beryl of Tahlequah, and Joe Collins and wife Michelle of Park Hill. Bill's step-children include Bob Sanders and wife Karen of Park Hill, Karen Boswell and husband Boyd of Tahlequah, Mike Meigs and wife Kimberly of Tahlequah, David Meigs and wife Janell of Tahlequah, Lisa Nolan and husband Pastor Allen Nolan of Tahlequah, and Susan Jordan and husband Kevin of Tahlequah. Bill's legacy lives on in his 12 grandchildren, Terry Stover and wife Debbie of Broken Arrow, Patti Jackson and husband James of Coweta, Marc Collins and companion Kimberly Fife-Daniels of Claremore, Jamie Jo Ward of Broken Arrow, Elizabeth Collins and fiancé David Pennekamp of Tulsa, Chelsey Collins, Ryleah Collins, Shasta Jordan, Jade Jordan and Jasmine Jordan, all of Tahlequah, Micah Relic and husband Aaron of Tulsa, Macee Nolan of Tahlequah, Heather Meigs of Tahlequah, Misty Holderbee and Billy of Tahlequah, Hunter Overacker and Jonathan Overacker, both of Tahlequah, Sarah Gooldy and husband Ray of Broken Arrow, Todd Sanders of Tulsa, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends and loved ones.

Those wishing to express their sympathy to Bill's family are asked to consider the Cornerstone Fellowship Church of Tahlequah.

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