Jon Allen Collins, 84, of Portland, passed away on May 21, 2021, at Sumner Regional Medical Center in Gallatin.
Mr. Collins was born in Portland on May 25, 1936, the seventh child born to the late Edward Burnam Collins and Ruth Webb Collins.
In addition to his parents, Mr. Collins was preceded in death by his brothers — William Collins, Robert Collins, Jim Collins, Jerry Collins and Joe Collins — and a sister, Wilma Leath.
Mr. Collins is survived by: his loving wife of 60 years (who were married May 12, 1961), Geraldine Chaffin Collins of Portland; children, Brent Collins, Deborah (James) Perry of Portland, Kris (JoLee) Collins; grandchildren, Erin (Josh) Braden, Gerri (Robbie) Jarrett, Katie (Herman) Radke III, Luke (Chloe) Perry, Jake Collins, T.J. (Katie) Oates; great-grandchildren, Camden Jarrett, Mason Jarrett, Gracie Braden, Easton Braden, Slayden Oates, Winnie Oates; brother, Frank Collins of Lafayette; and sister, Ann Crutcher of Clarksville.
Mr. Collins’ education accomplishments include:
1955 — He graduated from Sumner County School in Portland. He played football for four years and basketball his senior year. He was a two-year starter in football, playing running back and linebacker. After graduating from SCHS in 1955, he attended Middle Tennessee College. He was a walk-on in football his freshman and sophomore years and ran track for one year.
1959 — He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor of science degree in education. He was a graduate of Officers’ Training Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as second lieutenant and also a graduate of the first Army Aviation Flight School at MTSU.
1976 — He received his master of arts in education degree from Western Kentucky University.
1980 — He received his plus-30 in administration and supervision from Western Kentucky University.
Mr. Collins’ work history includes:
1959-1962 — Jackson County Central High School, teacher and head football coach (for three years)
1962-1977 — White House High School, teacher and head football coach (15 years)
1977-1985 — Portland High School, teacher and head football coach (nine years)
1985-1993 — Portland Middle School, assistant principal (seven years)
1993 — Retired in June 1993 with 34 years in education
1994-1996 — Gray Line Tour Company, historical tour guide (three years)
1996-2001 — Cumberland Bank, vice-president of business development and community relations
2001 — Retired in December with five years in banking
Mr. Collins’ summer and other work history includes:
1956-1958 — Pipeline construction during the summer months, welder helper; “worked my way through college; made enough during the months to pay for a year of college”
1957-1958 — Sports announcer with WGNS radio in Murfreesboro; worked during college as a sports announcer; play-by-play for Murfreesboro Central and MTSU sports; sports show
1957-1959 — “Soda jerk” at MTSU Student Union on weekends; “made the best chocolate milkshakes”
1960 — Twin Lakes Telephone Company, clearing right-of-ways
1961 — Worked concession stand for summer sports with Geraldine
1962-1978 — Sumner County Board of Education, maintenance crew, repairing student desks; White House Builders with Bob Baird, general store clerk; ASC crop measurement, measuring tobacco and diverted acreage; Ford Glass Plant, best paying job; Blanton Smith Egg Company, truck driver delivering eggs on an overnight haul to Cummins, Georgia; farm work with brother, Bill Collins, three different years; Lincoln American Insurance Company, sales; just enough to know that he didn’t want to do this; Auburn Textiles in Auburn, Kentucky, breaking down old equipment; Crazy Charlie’s Firecracker Shop, working 12-hour shifts; Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland, general maintenance on night shift; Diemaster Tool & Die with Ferrell Webb and Buster Collins, serving as a shop work and truck driver; Dan’s Furniture, delivering furniture and laying carpet; city of Portland, supervisor of young people clearing of city lake/dam and city creek)
1960- 1979 During this time teachers were not paid during the summer months when school was not in session. During those months, he did just about everything.
1979 — Sumner County Board of Education; supervisor for building the PHS fieldhouse
Mr. Collins’ community service includes:
1990-2002 — Sumner County Commissioner, 2nd District (12 years), serving on many committees at the county level
1995-2002 — 911 Board of Sumner County committee member (eight years)
1996-2002 Sumner County Highway Improvement Ad Hoc Committee, served as first chairman; started the development of four-lanes for Hwy 109 and completing Vietnam Veterans Boulevard
2002-2003 — Sumner County Economic Development Committee member
1990-2010 — WKQR, radio play-by-play announcer for Portland Panther Football
1988-2002 — Sunday school teacher, Portland First Baptist Church, men’s senior class (14 years)
1970-2021 — Lions Club, served as president (1992), vice-president (1991) and member
1977-2021 — Portland Quarterback Club member
1994-2021 — Sumner County Historical Society member
1988-2021 — Speaker for local schools (genealogy, banking, government, Civil War, and World War II)
2007-2009 — Sumner County Election Committee member
2009-2010 — Sumner County Board of Education Name a School Committee chairperson
2011 Samuel C. Collins Memorial Committee chairperson
Mr. Collins’ awards and recognitions include:
1972 — Selected as the Tennessean Midstate Coach of the Year
1973 — Selected to serve as a coach on Tennessee East/West Football All-Star Game
1972, 1975, 1980 and 1983 — Received region coach of the year award
1979 and 1980 — District coach of the year award; Red River Conference Coach of the Year five times
1985 — Ranked as the seventh-most winning football coach in Tennessee at the time of retirement from coaching
2002 — State of Tennessee appointment as a Colonel Aide De Camp, Governor’s Staff
Served as Portland Strawberry Festival Parade grand marshal twice (one as a football coach and one as asports announcer)
In retirement, which Collins called, life’s best chapter, he wanted to:
Spend time with Geri
Spend time with grandchildren — Erin, Geri, Katie Luke, Jake and T.J.
Spend time with great-grandchildren — Camden, Mason, Gracie and Easton
Attend the morning coffee club, solving world problems
Take afternoon naps
Spend time wintering in Florida
Have visits with family and friends
Do family research
Research Sumner County High School history and football
The funeral service was held on Monday at Portland First Baptist Church, with Greg McCoy & and Tim Colovos officiating.
Visitation was held at Portland First Baptist Church on Saturday, Sunday and prior to the service time on Monday.
Following the service, interment was held in Maple Hill Cemetery in Portland.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to these three places:
Portland First Baptist Church, 106 North Broadway, Portland, Tennessee, 37148
The Portland High School athletics department, 600 College St., Portland, Tennessee, 37148
The Portland Public Library, 301 Portland Blvd., Portland, Tennessee, 37148.