Marion Wendell "Sonny" Collins

Born in Tifton, Georgia on April 16, 1945

Departed on March 20, 2020 and resided in Kingston Springs, Tennessee

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Marion Wendell “SONNY” COLLINS, born in Tifton, GA, went to his Lord peacefully in his sleep at the age of 74 on Friday, March 20, 2020, at his home in Kingston Springs, TN. Sonny was an avid fisherman, having grown up in Brookfield, GA, known as a fishing paradise. A 1963 graduate of Tift County High School, Tifton, GA, he later received a BA from The Memphis Academy of Art, Memphis, TN. He was a US Navy veteran, having served as storekeeper on the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La during the Vietnam War.

His career as an awarded commercial artist grew out of his visual ability to see the beauty in nature. A gifted handy-man/inventor, he enjoyed woodworking and tinkering. With his extensive knowledge of history, especially the Civil War era, he enjoyed travel and searching for relics with his metal detector. Always community-minded, he served as a Commissioner in Kingston Springs, TN from 1982–1985.

In his retirement, he continued to enjoy photography with his sister, Ann, and painting with The Chestnut Group to aide fundraising for Nashville’s parks and historic sites. He loved his family and friends and was known for his quick wit, but he was always ready to help when he saw a need.

Predeceased by his parents, Roy G. and Bernice C. Collins, and an infant sister Peggy Jo Collins, of Tifton, GA, he leaves behind his wife of 49 years, Cynthia L. Collins; daughter Tanya Collins Maxwell (Shane) and grandson Jackson Liam Maxwell of Naples, FL; brother Jimmy W. Collins (Pat) of Rossville, GA; sister Ann Collins Merritt (Logan) of Asheville, NC; nephews Wayne Collins (Hanna) of Chattanooga, TN; Greg Collins (Alisa) of Chickamauga, GA; Mark Merritt (Heather), Brevard, NC; six great-nieces and -nephews; and scores of heartbroken extended family and friends.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the veteran’s charity organization of your choice.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions a celebration of life will be held later.

26 Comments to Marion Wendell "Sonny" Collins

  1. Greg, Alisa, Jacob and Justin Collins
    March 24, 2020 2:43 pm

    Saying goodbye is difficult but thankful there is peace in knowing that you are in the arms of Jesus. We will miss you greatly here one earth but will see you again ” Some Glad Morning”. We love you Sonny. Praying Gods blessings and comfort for Cynthia and Tanya.

  2. Kathlyn MacFarlane
    March 24, 2020 2:52 pm

    Lovely obituary. I’m happy to have known him & enjoyed seeing him at the Collins Family ReUnion. He always had a smile on his face & was light hearted in spirit. Please let us know the arrangements. Thank you. God bless us all!

  3. Jerry and Crystal Collins Sisk
    March 24, 2020 2:55 pm

    Cynthia and family, we are so sorry for your loss. Sonny was always a delight to be around. Our prayers are for you. May God comfort you during this time.

  4. Harlene Causey
    March 24, 2020 3:11 pm

    Hugs and prayers for all the family.

  5. Alice Connell Griner
    March 24, 2020 4:27 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends. The ladies of 63 are so thankful that we were able to spend time with him a few years ago. Forever in our hearts!

  6. Anna Lee Moss
    March 24, 2020 4:32 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Sonny was a wonderful cousin and I always enjoyed his humor! He will be greatly missed but always in our hearts. I am praying for you all.

  7. Renee Czeck
    March 24, 2020 4:35 pm

    I was truly blessed to live next-door to Cynthia and Sonny for my five years in Kingston Springs. Sonny was without a doubt a wonderful beautiful kind hearted person and will be missed by many. My heart goes out to the family and you’re in my prayers during this difficult time I miss you and love you

  8. Denny Anderson
    March 24, 2020 4:38 pm

    Cynthia and family. Sonny was always so nice, and what a neat sense of humor. I always enjoyed being around him. Sincerely sorry for your loss.

  9. David Mueller
    March 24, 2020 5:13 pm

    We pray for God’s peace in this time of loss. Janet and I have always appreciated Sonny’s wonderful wit and humor. He will be greatly missed, especially at the family reunions.

  10. Eugenia Walker
    March 24, 2020 5:26 pm

    We are so heartbroken but hold close the many happy memories we shared and the fact that we were so blessed to have known this amazing man! Our thoughts and prayers are with you, dear Cynthia and precious Tanya and our sincerest condolences to you both and the entire family during this time of such great loss and sorrow. With deepest sympathy. Jeannie and Carl.

  11. Ronald Hasty
    March 24, 2020 5:31 pm

    Our prayers are with you at this difficult time. I have many fond memories of my cousin Sonny and the memories I have of times spent together in our childhood.

  12. Bob Sanders
    March 24, 2020 5:37 pm

    Cynthia and Tonya and Family my memories of Sonny are so fond he was a beloved member of the Famous Luigi Brothers Cooking Team(Sontino) best Italian Sausages ever, member of the Famous Petro early Saturday morning Liars Club helper at Save Kingston Springs Tent Party and many other events, I believe he designed the original Kingston Springs Logo and a member of the city council at one time. His smile was infectious you could not help but smile when he came around. Sonny leaves many good friends and we will all morn his death but not for long because he would not want us to.. The Sanders Family was blessed to have had Sonny in our lives, and we will be there for you and Tonya forever. Godspeed.

  13. Buck Hartley
    March 24, 2020 5:52 pm

    Deepest condolences are offered by all classmates of Tifton High School Class of 1963 on the loss of “Everyone’s Favorite”, Sonny Collins–Sonny was know to be a person who would always do the “right thing” at any occasion, every since his youth school years–We never wanted to miss a opportunity of time spent with Sonny and Cynthia–I enjoyed many days of visits with Sonny when he was in Tifton with his mother while she was in assisted living–A very devoted and loving son–Highly Admired by everyone–May Jesus grant this precious family his comfort, understanding and grace at this very difficult time–Buck Hartley–TCHS 1963

  14. Karen Thomas
    March 24, 2020 5:53 pm

    Dearest beloved cousins, I am so sad, so sorry, and so heartbroken for your loss. Sonny was a righteous substantially evolved human being! A man consistently kind, personable, always with an engaging friendly manner! Sonny had a brilliant mind, exquisite eye for the beauty all around him with the talent to execute it all in different mediums so masterfully. Sonny was always an essential integral participant in family gatherings, both joyful and sad, always! Sonny was a pragmatic calming presence in crises! Sonny was an exceptionally talented sense of humor, and one could depend in any situation he could glean humor, or put forth a witty witticisms, or quick retort, whatever the situation called for! All of us: his family, his friends, his colleagues will hold Sonny in our lives, our hearts and our memory’s forever! Love, cousin KT

  15. Heather Ririe
    March 24, 2020 6:07 pm

    Sonny was an amazing man and will forever be loved and missed. I am fortunate that I was able to see him just days before he passed. He will always be special to me and my family. Hugs and prayers to Cynthia and Tanya. I hope that god wraps his arms around you and gives you the peace and comfort that you need, to get through this horrible time. Never forget that your Alaska family loves you all! 💕

  16. Roland Gibbons
    March 24, 2020 7:26 pm

    I worked with Sonny for years. He was very knowledgeable in the days of color separators . He was a great friend to GS&F. Always in good humor and a wonderful human being.

  17. Marion and Sandra Padgett
    March 24, 2020 11:10 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this sad time. May you be comforted by the peace that comes from our Heavenly Father. We have many good memories of the family from early days of growing up in Brookfield, GA

  18. Randy and Carroll
    March 25, 2020 10:48 am

    Sonny and Cynthia were the first two to welcome us when we moved in next door 7 years ago. I will remember our talks outside while working in the yard or at the YMCA. I will miss our chats. He was a great neighbor who loved the outdoors including spotting of the wildlife he would send me pictures of. We knew when we were out of town that he and Cynthia would watch over our home. We know he is still watching over us.

  19. Rhonda & Steve Morris
    March 25, 2020 11:00 am

    Cynthia and Tonya, our thoughts and prayers certainly are with you during this time of sadness and sorrow. Steve and I are glad we have been able to share some memories and funny stories about your beloved Sonny last evening. May your memories of him live on each and every day. Hugs to you and your family.

  20. Larry Law Jr.
    March 25, 2020 12:54 pm

    I always thought the very highly of Sonny. My prayers are with you at this difficult time.

  21. Victor Petrone
    March 25, 2020 1:39 pm

    Sorry to hear of Sonny’s passing. Enjoyed knowing him over these last few years in Bob Allen’s history group. Sonny was always kind and great to talk with.

  22. Bob Allen
    March 26, 2020 12:07 pm

    Sonny will be dearly missed by the Bellevue History & Genealogy Group and the Photography Group at the Bellevue FiftyForward Turner Center. Field trips to Civil War sites with Sonny, Sanford Payton, and Vic Petrone were always special as we all learned so much about the battles from Sonny. Sonny’s radiant smile told you that he was a great guy and always made you feel better.

  23. Scott Slade
    March 26, 2020 2:41 pm

    Sonny married my beautiful cousin Cynthia almost a half-century ago, so I have had the pleasure of knowing him for many years. I cannot think of a single time spent with Sonny where he failed to make me laugh or smile. He was so much fun and incredibly entertaining to be around. Sitting at the poker table with Sonny, Bob (Fultz), among other “guy” cousins, was such a great way to enjoy quality time with my wonderful family and build long-lasting and fond memories. He was kind, generous, caring, sincere and so very engaging with members of Cynthia’s Mansfield clan. I know I will miss him very much.

    And as Sonny would loudly call out any poker player who failed to ante up on a timely basis…”Pot’s Lite!”

    …love you, cousin Sonny!

    Cousin Scott

  24. The Gary Scott Family
    March 27, 2020 12:42 pm

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Cynthia and Tonya. We are sad to hear about Sonny’s passing. He was a special individual with an uplifting personality and spirit. Sonny was a great community leader and volunteered his time and talents to our community. He was admired and respected.

    We are thinking and praying for you and your family. May God be with you and give you comfort.

  25. Buford Hatcher
    March 27, 2020 4:27 pm

    I enjoyed seeing him on Friday and he was a great travel peson on a number of our day trips to exciting places. I just got information from him about a bus tour going west; he was excited about this trip. Sonny was in our group that went to Union and he found a much desired antique. This is so sudden and such a shock. I will greatly miss him.

  26. Learohn Caldwell
    March 28, 2020 8:37 pm

    My wife, Marilyn, & I just last month met Sonny at the Bellevue Historical & Genealogical meeting at the YMCA where I did a presentation on the Battle of the Little Bighorn. A week later he visited us at our new residence on Spring Ridge Drive in McCrory Heights .We later visited Sonny at his home and bought some Civil War items and coins to add to my Civil War Museum. Sonny took us on a driving tour around the Kingston Springs area and we planned on doing some artifact and relic hunting in the days to follow. Sonny was to become my new “best buddy” in Nashville as we just moved here from Shreveport to live near family. I am at a loss for words and my heart is heavy. I just this evening (March 27), learned of Sonny’s death. I welcome any calls regarding Sonny (318) 469-8495 to express my concern and respect for such a wonderful person. I know I just lost a piece of my joy here in Tennessee. “Thank you Sonny” and Marilyn shares the same. God Bless the family & friends!

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