James S. Collins, II, of Clemmons, North Carolina died Thursday May 20, 2021. Jim was born June 9, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri where he spent his life before moving to North Carolina in October 2014. He was the son of James Slade Collins and Dolma Nielsen, and the brother of Stanley Collins (surviving) of Dayton, Ohio. Jim graduated from Kirkwood High School in 1954. Jim pursued a business degree at Washington University in St. Louis where, he stated, the only requirement to get into college at that time was a 98.6 (i.e. a temperature). After graduation from business school in 1958, Jim attended the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis where he graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree in 1961. Jim was licensed to practice law in Missouri in 1961. Additionally, Jim was licensed to practice law in the Missouri Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court.
At some point in time along his path he met Neva Frances Guinn who, after some persistence on Jim’s part, married him on June 27, 1959. Together they had two daughters, Shari Lynn Collins and Camala (Camy) Ann Collins, who went along the ride of life with him until he passed away.
Jim was born a curious and voracious consumer of knowledge and facts. As the son of a teacher, he caught the “teaching” bug early on. Sharing and seeking knowledge became part of his DNA. Jim also carried a love of advocacy, especially for those overlooked by society. These characteristics formed the perfect combination of traits which led to the force of which is Jim Collins. They ushered him through his marriage, his parenting, his legal career, his life, and all the way through his death.
Jim started his legal career in 1961 as house counsel for State Farm Insurance in St. Louis. Jim believed that being an Attorney was equally his career and his calling. He believed in the good in people and standing up for those who needed help. Accordingly, he opened his own law firm, The Law Offices of James S. Collins, II, in 1979. He practiced as a plaintiff’s attorney through 2014 when he retired. Everyone who knew him, especially clients, knew that when he said “get out a piece of paper” or “let me tell you this” they were going to be tied up for the next few hours.
Jim loved spending time with his family, especially on the annual trips to Colorado. Jim and Neva visited New York City many times, enjoying all the City offered and participating in the annual Times Square New Year’s Eve festivities. Jim enjoyed reading and telling people about the books Shari wrote on ethics and the environment. Camy married Daniel R. Francis in 1990. Jim and Neva became grandparents to Alexander Francis and Madison Francis. Jim was a wonderful grandfather and the birth of his two grandchildren gave him another opportunity to pass down his love of knowledge and life.
Jim was a man of faith and the Baptist church shaped his life from birth through death. He was elected to serve Ellisville Baptist Church in Missouri as a Deacon and was ordained in September 2007. Jim participated in the Ardmore Baptist Church choir from 2014 through his death. Jim was a youth boys Sunday school teacher at Ellisville Baptist Church for numerous years. Jim taught adult Sunday school at Ardmore Baptist Church. He viewed his time spent at church as a privilege and the people he met as his family. The friendships formed at his churches brought great joy to his life.
Jim loved laughing, reading, singing, classical music, playing games with family and friends, dinners with family and friends, desserts, the Rocky Mountains, art, new ideas, politics, nature, animals, Pawn Stars tv show, gadgets, infomercials, driving fast, and the sheer and simple beauty of life. Jim took up golf in his 50’s and managed to get under 100. Jim talked to strangers as if they were lost friends. We will remember him as a positive force in our lives. We believe that Jim is already up in Heaven calling on God to accept some paper and a pen from him. He will say to God “let me tell you this” and he will proceed to give an update about what is going on down on Earth and asking how he can help make it better.
Visitation for James will be from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at Sassmann’s Chapel in Belle. Interment will follow in the Liberty Cemetery. Covid guidelines will be observed.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made payable to Ardmore Baptist Church and earmarked for the Sunday School department as Jim took such pleasure in teaching. Donations can be sent to the Ardmore Baptist Church, 501 Miller Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27103.