In Memoriam: March 3-5

Thomas Hiram Collins, 69, Vero Beach

Thomas Hiram Collins, 69, of Vero Beach, died in his own home peacefully on Feb. 24, 2018, four weeks before he was to celebrate his 70th birthday. Tommy was born March 27, soon after the ending of World War II and was named in honor of his Uncle Hiram, his father’s only brother, lost on Omaha Beach, during the landings of D-Day.

Tommy, or TC, as his friends called him grew up in Baltimore City and on weekends the family would drive to Ocean City, Md., to build and develop their beloved Collinwood Cottages and apartments. Tommy learned the building trades during this time period from his father,”Scoop.”

He and his family spent every summer in Ocean City, and in the early ‘60s, the family took up permanent residence on 34th Street.

At an early age, Tommy’s entrepreneurial spirit began to blossom, and he created Tom’s Beach Service and Tom’s vending machines.

After graduating from Stephen Decatur High School, Tommy headed off to the University of Maryland School of Business Administration and began his lifelong love of facts and figures, profit and loss statements and balance sheets.

He immediately started his formal career, designing and building multiple projects in Ocean City, culminating with the creation of the Barn on 34th Street, a unique structure, with a small foot print and a vast volume. This was the first project named after his fallen Uncle Hiram. He called it Hiram’s General store, which he ran and managed for several years.

In the late seventies, TC moved to Vero Beach, buying his great-uncle Edwin’s and great-aunt Cele’s seaside cottage home. Cele was the sister of his grandmother, Mayne Cullen Collins whom was the first woman member to the Maryland House of Delegates from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Surely some of her political expertise passed onto her grandson. From this first little house in Summerplace, TC, along with his wife Gretchen, started raising their son, Will.

With Vero Beach now his permanent home, TC started Collins Companies developing multiple properties culminating with a small marina in Sebastian and began developing his life-long dream, and again, in honor of his fallen uncle he called it Captain Hiram’s and the rest is history.

TC will be remembered as a great father to his son Will, a wonderful Uncle to his niece and nephews, a great cousin to his extended family, a warm and caring brother, but most of all as an all-around fun loving guy who loved life and lived it to the fullest and was a best friend to many.
TC supported many charities and in lieu of flowers, please honor and remember Tom Collins by making memorial contributions to the Veteran’s Council of Indian River County, 1800 27th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

Tom Collins is survived by his son, Will, (Ashleigh and Will’s mother, Gretchen); his brother, Skip (Pam); his brother, John (Tracey); nephew, Gaemus Collins (Tracy and their two children, Ellington and Elisa); nephew, Michael Collins; and niece, April Collins Winterson (Nate and daughter, Mila).

A memorial celebration will be held on Thursday, March 8, at Capt. Hiram’s Resort in Sebastian from 5-7 p.m. Another service is planned for mid-May in Ocean City, Md.


Patricia Ann Cooney, 72, Vero Beach

Patricia Ann Cooney, 72, died Feb. 27, 2018, at her residence in Vero Beach. She was born in Kearny, N.J., and has lived in Vero Beach since 2006, coming from Toms River, N.J.
Patricia was a member of St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, Vero Beach.
Survivors include her husband of 45 years, James J. Cooney; son, James Robert Cooney, of Boston, Mass.; daughter, Kathryn I. Cooney, of Portland, Ore.; brother, Robert McCann, of Naples, Fla.; and sister, Kathleen A. Archer, of San Antonio, Texas.

She was preceded in death by a sister, Dolores Kenyon.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 5011 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10 a.m. on Thursday March 8, at St. John of the Cross Catholic Church, Vero Beach.

Leave a Comment