Billy Allen Collins of Mesa, Arizona, U.S. Air Force veteran and much-loved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 13, 2017 at the age of 81. He was the son of Leonard Alma & Chessie Fay (McCandless) Collins. Born in Bucklin, Missouri, on March 15, 1936, the third of seven children. He is preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Patsy Ann (Lester) Collins. They were married on December 30, 1957 in her hometown of Roxboro, North Carolina. Together they raised five children while stationed at military bases in the United Sates and Spain.
Billy proudly served his country for thirty years in the Air Force achieving rank of Senior Master Sergeant. He served in Korea and Vietnam. While in Vietnam, he was a member of the famed 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the unit responsible for shooting down more enemy aircrafts than any other organization during the war. He reluctantly retired from the Air Force in 1985, and began his pot-military life still working in the aviation industry. Initially working for the defense contractor Dyncorp at the former Williams Air Force Base. He then put his military experience to work and earned his Airframe and Power-plant license from the Federal Aviation Administration which allowed him to work on commercial aircrafts at Sky Harbor Airport. He also worked as a repairman for DCW International Copiers before retiring.
Preceding him in death are: his wife, Patsy, his sister, Dorothy (Dorval) Hicks and three brothers, Donald “Dale” Collins, Robert “Bobby” Collins and Ronald “Ronny” Collins. Survivors include: two daughters & sons-in-law, Vincent & Susan (Collins) DiBella, Mesa, AZ and Armando & Kathryn (Collins) Gomez, Mesa, AZ; three sons & daughters-in-law, Steven & Leslie (Petrill) Collins, Texas, COL Timothy & Teri (Brown) Collins, Virginia and Douglas Collins, Gilbert, AZ; two brothers & sisters-in-law, Marcus & Connie (Pagan) Collins, Mesa, AZ and Terry & Linda (Hendricks) Collins, Missouri; two former daughters-in-law, Patty (Shudinis) Collins, Gilbert, AZ, and Margaret (Berhardt) Collins, Tempe, AZ; ten grandchildren, Scott & Shefali (Vaz) Collins, Samuel Collins, Phillip, Andrew, Megan and Eric DiBella, Derek and Shane Collins, Clarissa and Hannah Collins; and three great-grandchildren, Alec and Elsa Collins and Shaylee Kate Collins.
Memorial and Internment will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 8, 2017, at Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery, 7900 E. Main St., Mesa, Arizona.