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Thomas Edward Collins
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Obituary for Thomas Edward Collins

Thomas E. Collins, Tom, was born January 25, 1933, in Minneapolis, MN, to Mabel Wilson Collins and Thomas E. Collins. He grew up 2 blocks from Minnehaha Falls and the Mississippi River. He had what he often described as an idyllic childhood despite his father dying when he was about five, because he had two older brothers, Bob and Don, who were 10 and 11 years his senior, who took Dad’s place.
Tom had a life-long fascination with history and the military, fueled by his mother and the entry of both brothers into service in WWII.
After serving his own obligatory 2 years active duty as an officer in Air Defense Artillery (Nike Battery), Tom went into law school at first University of Michigan and then University of Minnesota, where he received his JD in 1959. He remained in the Reserves and started work as a civilian analyst with the Defense Department in Washington, D.C. Working there, he met his future wife Martha Wheeler, from Alabama. They married in June 1969 after Tom returned from studying 1966-67 at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, obtaining a Master of Studies Administrative (MSA), called MBA in the United States. In 1970, Tom and Martha moved to Minneapolis, MN, living in Edina, where Tom started a solo law practice and became active in State and National politics. He served as chairman of Third Congressional District, DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor), and held office in the DFL State Central Committee. In 1971, he campaigned to become the Third District’s endorsed candidate for Congress. He did not get that chance, but can look back and have no regrets. Instead, Tom and Martha had two children, Thomas E. Collins III and Elisebeth Bridget Collins, and moved back to the Washington D. C. area in 1980, settling in McLean, where he could live his love of politics.
As Tom grew up, he loved sports – hockey, football, baseball, basketball. He loved playing them, watching them, and talking about them. He taught both children the same love, and even got his wife Martha interested, as a spectator. He served as the President of his son’s Fairfax Hockey Club one year. Tom was always active in his church, serving as teacher, deacon, usher, and treasurer in McLean Baptist Church.
When Tom and then Martha retired, they began travelling in earnest. Martha had worked for US Airways, now American Airlines, so they took the benefits and travelled the world. The air travel culminated in visiting all of the 26 pre-WWII European Capitals (not all in one trip). Such fun! Then they began their cruises…. The first one was through the Mediterranean, the birthplace of history, military strategy, Western culture, Christianity – everything Tom had spent his life studying and living. And the food was delicious. Did we mention that Tom loved food as well as conversation?
Tom was predeceased by his father Thomas E. Collins, mother Mabel Amelia Wilson Collins, and brothers Robert and Donald Wilson. He is survived by his wife of 48 years Martha Wheeler Collins, daughter Elisebeth Bridget Collins, son Thomas E. Collins III, daughter-in-law Maria Collins, and grandchildren Yesenia K. Collins and Thomas E. Collins IV.
Visitation is 9:30-11:00am Saturday, October 14, at McLean Baptist Church, 1367 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, VA 22101. The funeral service will be held at 11:00AM. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery will be at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to McLean Baptist Church. Online condolences and fond memories may be offered to the family at: www.

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Previous Events





9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
McLean Baptist Church

1367 Chain Bridge Road
McLean, VA 22101





11:00 AM
McLean Baptist Church

1367 Chain Bridge Road
McLean, VA 22101

Cemetery Details


Arlington National Cemetery at a later date

1 Memorial Drive
Arlington , VA 22211


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