Red Collins (1928-2022) built his own house on Center Street in Rockton

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Edward W. ‘Red’ Collins passed away peacefully in his home on January 18th, 2022 after a long and happy life. Red was born March 31, 1928 in Oakley, TN, to Maude and John William Collins. The youngest of nine children, his mother died when he was less than a year old and he was cared for by his special sister, Magdalen, until he reached school age. Red grew up with five brothers and three sisters, learning the value of hard work and the love of family through both hardship and joy on his family’s farm. In a time where you pranked someone by putting their wagon on the barn roof, rode a horse to school, and ate what you grew, Red longed for something different. With his father’s blessing, he left the farm for a job in construction and joined the National Guard at 18.

In the summer of 1949, Red met the love of his life, Kathryn Seals. In love and defying family objections, they ran off together and got married. They were wed April 2, 1950 in Mississippi at 6 a.m. - after waking up a Justice of the Peace to do the job. It wasn’t long, however, before he was called to active duty in the U.S. Army. One week after Christmas 1950, Red left his new bride behind to serve his country in the Korean War. Soon after, he learned he not only had a wife to return to but also a baby on the way. 

After finishing his commitment to the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of sergeant, Red was eager to reunite with his young family. On a trek to find work to support them all, he landed in Rockton, Illinois and that is where they made their home together.



Red worked 38 years as an electrician. He built his house on Center Street with the help of his son, designed, crafted, built, and rebuilt beautiful things for his adored wife and still found time to help family and friends with their needs. He loved being a husband and father and loved being a grandfather even more. He loved traveling, particularly with his wife. As a man who could do everything, he was always in high demand and could always be counted on. Red was a Scoutmaster, a craftsman and one mean roller skater. He was a protector, an adventurer and a fixer of all things. He was a tinkerer, a coin collector, a breakfast maker and, most of all, a good man. He will live on in the many treasures he built in his workshop and in the words he left for us all.

Red is survived by his son, Robert Edward Collins, granddaughters Susan, Sarah and Amanda, three great grandchildren, a great-great grandchild and countless nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who will never forget him. He is predeceased by his parents, John William and Maude, siblings Arizona, Walter, Floyd, Magdalen, Willard, Mattie Bell, Wilton and Willie Hugh, daughter Tammy Lee, and his loving wife and soulmate, Kathryn. Their joint monument stands in Rockton Township Cemetery.

His family calls him, "husband, father, veteran, friend, most beloved ‘Gramps’, and our family patriarch for many years, he will be dearly missed but remembered often and with joy, love and gratitude. You can just call him Uncle Red… like so many did." and quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A great man is always willing to be little.” 

McCorkle Funeral Home - Rockton Chapel assisted the family.

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