Thurmon L. "Bobby" Collins, Jr.

Coach Thurmon L. “Bobby” Collins, Jr., 88, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi passed away on Monday, November 15, 2021 at his home. Visitation will be on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 9am, and funeral services will be at 11am at Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home in Hattiesburg. Interment will be at 1pm at Hickory Grove Cemetery, Laurel, Mississippi.

He was born in Laurel, Mississippi on October 25, 1933 to Mr. and Mrs. Thurmon L. Collins, Sr. He graduated from Laurel High School and earned a BS in Industrial Management from Mississippi State University, where he played quarterback for the football team and also played tennis. Coach Collins was an avid golfer and enjoyed many rounds at the Hattiesburg Country Club with his golf buddies. A highlight of his golf experience was playing St. Andrews in Scotland.

Coach Collins coached at the following schools: Mississippi State, Colorado State, George Washington University, Virginia Tech, University of North Carolina, University of Southern Mississippi, and Southern Methodist University.

He was a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Hattiesburg (Venture Church now) and served as a Deacon.

He received the following awards: National Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association, SWC Coach of the Year, USM Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Mississippi State Hall of Fame, The Silver Beaver Award, Friend of USM Award, and the Hub Award.

He served six months as Infantry Officer (2nd Lt.), 1956, Ft. Benning, Georgia and Ft. Riley, Kansas. He also served eight months as a Civil Affairs Officer (1st Lt.), 1961-1962, Ft. Gordon, Georgia. He received an honorable discharge from U.S. Army Reserve (captain) in 1963.

Bobby Collins was married to the former Lynn Bass, also of Laurel. They met 72 years ago and had been married 67 years at the time of his death. Together they have three children: Robert Kent Collins (deceased), Leisa Collins Justus (Chuck), and Jayme Collins Byrd (Richard). They also have four grandchildren: James Kenton Dear, Mary Lynn Dear-Thomas (Jeffrey), Jennifer Byrd Jordan (Hank), and Kelly Byrd. They also have two great grandchildren - Ray Jordan and Anna Collins Jordan - and another on the way. Bobby Collins is survived by his wife; his daughters, Leisa Collins Justus and Jayme Collins Byrd and their children; his sisters, Gala Graham and Wilda Shoemaker; two brothers-in-law, Tommy Bass (Beverly) and Edwin Bozeman; and a host of beloved nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Thurmon L. Collins, Sr.; his brothers, Charlie Collins, Lauren Collins, and Larry Collins; and his son Robert Kent Collins.

Pallbearers will be Jeff Bower, Richard Byrd, James Kenton Dear, Jeff Hammond, Hank Jordan, Chuck Justus, and Jeff Thomas.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of the following: Kent Collins Memorial Scholarship Fund (USM), Bobby Collins Endowed Scholarship (USM), or Parkinson's Research Foundation (www.parkinson.org).