BLACKVILLE -- Robert O. Collins, of Blackville, passed away Monday, October 9, 2017, from his beloved Home Place surrounded by his family.
Mr. Collins was a devoted husband, father, admired grandfather, statesman and friend. Born on July 13, 1935, he was the eldest son of the late Helen Hutto Collins and George Shannon Collins.
He graduated from Blackville High School, where he played football and met his high school sweetheart and wife Peggy. Peggy was more than just a wife but also his confidant and most trusted advisor. He proudly served in the United States Army National Guard and was a member of Blackville First Baptist Church for over 60 years.
He joined his father's construction firm in 1958. This firm eventually evolved into the Robert O. Collins Company, which is now managed by the fourth generation. He was active in highway and civil construction projects in South Carolina and adjoining states. He was a very successful land developer with extensive public holdings. His land holdings include large tracts of land along the Edisto River, which he loved and kept in its pristine original condition.
As an entrepreneur, he owned and operated numerous motels and restaurants. He also owned many herds of cattle marked with the distinctive HP brand.
He became active in Barnwell County politics at an early age and was first elected to Barnwell County Council in 1967; he served for a number of years uninterrupted including several years as chairman. He served on many boards and commissions and served as past chair of the Lower Savanah River Council of Governments. He was known throughout Barnwell County for his philanthropy, both public and private. Some of his donations include Collins Park to the City of Barnwell, Blackville Country Club and Golf Course to the Blackville School District, Westcott Plantation and Golf Course, Fire Station 11, and Robert Collins Sports Complex to the City of North Charleston.
Of all of his accomplishments, he was most proud of his family. Together, he and Peggy had four children, Cynthia (Terry Lee) Harris of Murrells Inlet, Suzanne Rice (Stephen) Russell of Mount. Pleasant, Paige Collins of Mount Pleasant, Clay (Becky Jean) Collins of Blackville; 10 grandchildren, Justin (Chrissy) Harris, Wyatt (Lauren) Harris, Ashleigh (Cody) Gleaton, Madeline (Monty) Nix, Shank Collins, Peggy (Gib) Gibbons, Kate (Jeff) Behmer, Mary Gray Creech, Collins (Lucian) Grove, Kittrell Rice; and five great grandchildren, Levi Harris, Cash Harris, Asher Harris, Tag Nix, Maddy Clay Nix; a brother, Steve (Jessica) Collins; numerous nieces and nephews; dear friends and caregivers.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Peggy Garrick Collins; sisters Dixie Collins “Dodie” Spurling and Elizabeth Collins “Libby” Sears.
Mr. Collins was a true man of vision, blazing the way for the next generation of leaders to follow his example of hard work, purpose, principle and strong sense of family.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 12, 2017, at Blackville First Baptist Church. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, October 13, at Blackville First Baptist Church.
Memorial contributions may be given in Mr. Collins' memory to Blackville First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 217, Blackville, SC 29817.
Folk Funeral Home Inc. and Crematory, Williston, S.C., is assisting the family with arrangements. Visit our online registry at www.folkfuneralhome.com.