Thomas “Tom” Collins, a longtime volunteer church worship leader and youth lay leader in Decatur and the husband of state Rep. Terri Collins, died Sunday at age 63.
“He ministered to hundreds of people through singing at funerals, singing at weddings,” said Dr. Larry Little, CEO of Eagle Consulting and a leadership psychologist. “He sang for them because he cared about them.
“He was the best man I ever knew. Many people would say that.”
Tom Collins was at home in Southwest Decatur on Sunday when he had symptoms of a heart attack and was taken to Decatur Morgan Hospital’s Parkway Campus, where he died, family friend Donna Whitten said.
Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Epic Church in Decatur, and the memorial service will follow at 2 p.m. at the church, according to Roselawn Funeral Home.
Little said Tom Collins had stopped singing in public when they first met about 35 years ago.
Collins told Little: “I got to where I was singing for myself and not the Lord.”
Little encouraged Collins to resume using his gift, and he did.
“Tom had an incredible, beautiful voice,” Little said. “He decided he would use his voice for the Lord. He never wanted it to be about him. He wanted it to be about his Lord and savior. He didn’t want to be in the limelight.
“What very few people know is he also wrote some songs. He wrote a beautiful song about his father. He was very gifted.”
Collins and his wife were lay youth leaders at Central Baptist, and continued to mentor youth when they moved to Wesley Memorial United Methodist, where he spent more than 15 years as a volunteer worship leader, Little said.
“He taught them how to lead worship with a servant’s heart, how to lead with humility. That’s the definition of Tom Collins.
“The impact he made on lives will span generations.”
Tom and Terri Collins, a Decatur Republican, most recently had been attending Lifepoint Church and hosting a weekly Bible study in their home.
He was retired from the Tennessee Valley Authority. In addition to his wife, he is survived by their son, Taylor Collins; two daughters, Tricia Collins and Tracie McPhillips; and two grandchildren.
Gov. Kay Ivey on Sunday issued a statement expressing her condolences to Terri Collins and family.
"He proudly supported her work on behalf of the people of Morgan County and was often seen in and around the Statehouse at her side," she said. "My thoughts and prayers will be with her, their three children and two grandchildren. May the Lord provide peace and comfort to them in the difficult days to come."