Thomas J. Collins 1980-2013

NILES – Thomas J. Collins, 32, of Niles, passed away Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Campbell.

Thomas, affectionately known as “TJ” in Mineral Ridge or “TC” in Niles, was born Dec. 2, 1980, in Warren to parents Thomas and Martie Fellows Collins.

Thomas graduated from Niles McKinley High School after attending the Mineral Ridge school system. He furthered his education and graduated with high honors from ITT Technical Institute and the Trumbull Business College.

TJ worked for the Auto Warehouse in Lordstown. If you purchased a new car, chances are TJ carefully loaded it onto the rail car for you. He also worked with his father in his lawn care business.

TJ excelled in all sports, including basketball, football and baseball. He was an all-star catcher for Mineral Ridge and Niles high schools. Catching was his favorite position because he loved to think strategy while he played. He loved all sports, playing since he was just 5 years of age. He was a natural.

When his playing days were over, Tom continued in sports by becoming an umpire. He was one of the highest-rated umpires in the OHSAA. He was a common site at hundreds of area games, always being selected to be the person in charge due to his unquestioned knowledge and passion for the sport. Recently he was assisting his brother with coaching advice for the Niles Little Red Dragons, helping to keep the program on the winning tradition.

TC loved to play cards, discuss politics and life. He was a great listener and communicator.

With all of his passions in life, his true passion was his family. He would thrive on the love he gave and received from them. He would laugh and play for hours with his son and many nephews and nieces.

Everyone will remember Tom for his kindness and generosity. There was nothing he would not do for family or friends.

Tom leaves to cherish many fond memories his son, Noah; his parents; Tom and Martie of Niles; brothers, Michael and Sam of Niles; and sister, Amanda (Chris) Glunt of Mineral Ridge.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Merle and Beverly Collins, and James and Shirley Fellows.

Calling hours to celebrate Tom’s life will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Lane’s Family Funeral Home, Mineral Ridge Chapel. Services will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.

Interment will be in Kerr Cemetery.

Family and friends may view this obituary and send condolences at

(special notice)