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Earnest McCollum

December 3, 1930 May 3, 2017
Earnest  McCollum
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Obituary for Earnest McCollum
Earnest Wilbert “Bill” McCollum was one of seventeen children born into the blended Kent and McCollum families. His father, Peter James Kent, fathered eleven children. His mother, Ruth Byrd, married Willie Lee McCollum of Metter, Georgia with whom she had six children. Like many young people of his generation, Bill left the south when he was in his 20s and moved north but whenever he came to visit, decade after decade, Metter welcomed him home with open arms.
Bill was a quiet and pensive man who could master anything he put his mind to. He had a knack for figuring things out and a talent for crafting and building. He was ahead of his time, starting on the path to a career in nursing at Metter Hospital in the 1950s. He continued his studies at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey. When a unique opportunity presented itself, Bill left New Jersey in the late 1960s to run a real estate business in Detroit, Michigan with his best friend, and ultimately retired from the world of work in the early 1990s as an assemblyman for Chrysler. He was a provider for his family, a loving father and big brother, and a support to his friends. And let’s not forget, he also had the need for speed, would drive any-where anytime, and could calculate distance in his head effortlessly. If you called to ask him for directions, he could tell you where you were before you even knew you were there.
Bill served in the army during the Korean Conflict, won many bowling championships as part of the VA’s league, liked pickles and mayonnaise on his hamburgers, could watch westerns on television for hours, had trouble throwing away his mail, obsessed about paying his bills on time, loved good food and lots of it, rarely left home without his hat, liked to listen to the blues, thought Jamaica was heaven on earth, was sometimes ornery but had a sense of humor that would often sneak up on you. He also coined a few colorful catch phrases we won’t mention here but will continue to use reverently.
Bill was a testament to the sheer strength of will, pushing through when things seemed bleakest. Later in life, persistent health challenges slowed his roll but never dampened his spirit. He persevered though earthly odds were against him surviving the stress illness took on his body. He moved back to his home state of Georgia in 2012 and spent the better part of his final days resting peacefully in the place he loved most: the home he shared with his only son, Patrick.
Bill’s life was full of people who loved him. Some preceded him in death but all contribute to his legacy: three children (Leticia, Kharlotte, and Patrick); their mothers (Betty†, Doris, and Murner†), one God granddaughter (Kyla); his parents (Ruth†, Peter James†, and Willie†); nine sisters* (Betty, Dorothy†, Glennie, Grace, Mae, Pa-tricia†, Pearl, Stella Mae, and Vivian†); seven brothers* (Burrel, Clinton, Douglas†, Gregory, Jimmy, John Paul, and Willie Lee†); three aunts* (Aretha, Edna Cora†, and Thelma); four uncles* (C.W.†, George†, Herbert† and Levi†); nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, extended family, and friends. We lay him to rest at the place he was baptized, St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church.
Earnest Wilbert “Bill” McCollum lived life well, with love as the wind beneath his wings.
*In Alphabetical Order
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Cemetery Details


St. Matthews Church Cemetery Final Resting Place

St. Matthews Church Road
Metter, GA 30439

St. Matthews Church Road Metter 30439 GA
United States

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