OBITUARY

Wilbur L. Collins

February 29, 1924November 28, 2018
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WILBUR L.COLLINS, 94, of Victoria, Texas passed away November 28, 2018. He was a Leap Year baby, born February 29, 1924 in Chicago, IL to Clarence and Daisy Collins. His father passed away in 1928 when Wilbur was four. Following that, he went to live on a farm with his Aunt Viola and Uncle Emery Conder in Knox County, Ohio. He attended High School in Butler, Ohio where he learned to play all of the brass instruments. Following High School graduation, he studied with the first trombonist in the Cleveland Orchestra. When he was drafted into the Army during WWII, he played trombone in several Army bands. Then following his discharge, he returned to Chicago to study Theory at the American Conservatory. Then he became a member of the Civic Orchestra, training ground for the Chicago Symphony. Wilbur played three years with the Chicago Businessmen’s Symphony, and during this time, he taught students how to play brass instruments at the Wurlitzer School of Music, and the North Park College for three years. He later received Bachelor and Masters degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and did post graduate work at Tanglewood, Massachusetts (conducting scholarship). Desiring warmer weather, he moved his young family in 1949 to Hallsville, Texas where he taught High School band. Then in 1950 he moved his family to Victoria, Texas. He was hired by Victoria College as the first band director. He started the band and taught for 33 years (1950-1983). He was one of the first two faculty members to be granted leave with half-pay under a new program at Victoria College to assist instructors in furthering their education. He used this opportunity to work on his Doctorate and taught at North Texas State University. He loved to travel and has visited many countries around the world. He spent some of his summers guiding tours, one summer for Thomas Cooke, and five summers for American Express. He also took his family on many exciting trips. During his spare time he directed several church choirs in Victoria and has had several choral and instrumental compositions published. He was also the founder of the Annual Victoria Jazz Festival that featured The Victoria College Jazz Band as well as other area jazz bands. He was always interested in building quality hi-fi equipment, so after his retirement from the college he founded Concertronics Recording Specialists. Family and friends were trained to help produce quality audio and video recordings. They travelled all over Texas recording bands, choirs and orchestras. Wilbur recorded the Victoria Symphony, the Clear Lake Symphony, the Corpus Christi Symphony and the Victoria Bach Festival. He had a great passion for classical music and was one of the earliest supporters of the Victoria Bach Festival. A number of his recordings were sent to NPR, some which were broadcast. Survivors include sons, John Collins and wife Jessica, Clark Collins and wife Rosalind, Curtis Collins; daughters, Evelyn Kohl and husband William (Billy), Donna Janko Brown, and Carol Kass, 16 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, and 5 great great grandchildren. In addition to his parents, aunt and uncle, he was preceded in death by a son, David Collins and brother, Albert Collins and Dorothy Collins, the mother of his 7 children. A Memorial celebrating Wilbur’s life will be held December 8, 2018, at Rosewood Funeral Chapel, 2:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Victoria Bach Festival. Words of comfort may be shared with the family at www.rosewoodfuneralchapel.com

  • FAMILY

  • Clarence Collins, Father
  • Daisy Belle Mathews Collins, Mother
  • John Collins (Jessica), Son
  • Clark Collins (Rosalind), Son
  • Curtis Collins, Son
  • Evelyn J. Kohl (Billy), Daughter
  • Donna Janko Brown, Daughter
  • Carol Kass, Daughter
  • David Collins, Son
  • Albert Collins, Brother
  • Dorothy Collins, The mother of his children
  • Wilbur also leaves sixteen grandchildren, twenty-four great-grandchildren, five great great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members and friends to cherish his memory.
  • DONATIONS

  • Victoria Bach Festival

Services

  • Celebration of Wilbur's Life Saturday, December 8, 2018
REMEMBERING

Wilbur L. Collins

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Jim and Esther Ford

December 7, 2018

We have many happy memories of Wilbur from when he attended the Unitarian Universalist Church of Victoria with us and he was a member of the same supper club we had on Wednesday evenings. We will also remember him from his work with the Victoria Bach Festival. He was a very talented and generous man. We will miss him but have many recordings that he did that we will continue to enjoy.

Linda Spellacy

December 4, 2018

What a wonderful, kind, and happy soul! I have had the pleasure of calling Mr. Collins teacher and friend since the late '50's. My favorite memory? When I was in high school, I received a call from Mr. Collins. It seemed that his college band was supposed to march in a parade, but he needed a drummer. So he asked me to come to the college and pick out a uniform that fit and he did the same. We both marched in that parade, I on drums and he on bass, even though neither of us was a student there. What an honor that he thought so much of me to ask for my help! Or perhaps it was just dire necessity. Thank you, Mr. Collins, for your love and friendship over the last 60 years.

Michael Boyd

December 3, 2018

I've known Wilbur Collins for most of my 42 years living in Victoria. It s an understatement to say simply that he was a "force of music and the arts" in Victoria....he was much more than that. From a personal standpoint , whether I was directing or acting in a summer musical or a show at St Joseph High School or singing with the Barbershop Chorus, it was a safe bet Wilbur was there. In later life , when I would see Wilbur in town (usually at a restaurant), he would always have me regale him with a story or two from a current film project I had just returned from. His interest in what you were doing was always genuine. More than any other person in town, to me, Wilbur was the music icon of our community. We were lucky to have him with us for so many years and he is indicative of that golden age of music in Victoria. Not many of his ilk are left (Ruth Williams , an equal to the crown of Victoria music icon, comes to mind as someone who is still with us and was definitely a part of that golden era), but as a music community, we were lucky to have him. Always positive and opinionated at the same time, I shall miss his smiling face, his mischief and his unending interest and encouragement. God bless you Wilbur , as you play that trombone up in the heavens.......you were one of a kind and it was an honor to have known you.

Ricky & Carol Ann Lenz

December 2, 2018

We were deeply saddened to hear that Wilbur had passed away. I got to know him through the
Victoria Fine Arts Association and the Victoria Bach Festival. He was a great music teacher. Wilbur
always had a big smile on his face. He touched the lives of many people in the music world. We know that he will be greatly missed. May God bless the entire Collins family during your time of loss.

Edward Walker

December 2, 2018

What a wonderful life Mr. Collins led and what a wonderful legacy of song he has left for those of us whose lives crossed his. I hope that all the people he taught at Victoria College will take the time to pause and remember his smile and joy and pass it on to others. To keep his example and his music alive is the greatest tribute that we can give him. Peace to his spirit as he finds rest in God's presence.

Dr. Edward Walker
University of Central Oklahoma
Edmond, OK

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Biography

WILBUR L.COLLINS, 94, of Victoria, Texas passed away November 28, 2018. He was a Leap Year baby, born February 29, 1924 in Chicago, IL to Clarence and Daisy Collins. His father passed away in 1928 when Wilbur was four. Following that, he went to live on a farm with his Aunt Viola and Uncle Emery Conder in Knox County, Ohio. He attended High School in Butler, Ohio where he learned to play all of the brass instruments. Following High School graduation, he studied with the first trombonist in the Cleveland Orchestra. When he was drafted into the Army during World War II, he played trombone in several Army bands. Then following his discharge, he returned to Chicago to study Theory at the American Conservatory. Then he became a member of the Civic Orchestra, training ground for the Chicago Symphony. Wilbur played three years with the Chicago Businessmen’s Symphony, and during this time, he taught students how to play brass instruments at the Wurlitzer School of Music, and the North Park College for three years. He later received Bachelor and Masters degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and did post graduate work at Tanglewood, Massachusetts (conducting scholarship).
Desiring warmer weather, he moved his young family in 1949 to Hallsville, Texas where he taught High School band.
Then in 1950 he moved his family to Victoria, Texas. He was hired by Victoria College as the first band director. He started the band and taught for 33 years (1950-1983). He was one of the first two faculty members to be granted leave with half-pay under a new program at Victoria College to assist instructors in furthering their education. He used this opportunity to work on his Doctorate and taught at North Texas State University.
He loved to travel and has visited many countries around the world. He spent some of his summers guiding tours, one summer for Thomas Cooke, and five summers for American Express. He also took his family on many exciting trips. During his spare time he directed several church choirs in Victoria and has had several choral and instrumental compositions published. He was also the founder of the Annual Victoria Jazz Festival that featured The Victoria College Jazz Band as well as other area jazz bands. He was always interested in building quality hi-fi equipment, so after his retirement from the college he founded Concertronics Recording Specialists. Family and friends were trained to help produce quality audio and video recordings. They travelled all over Texas recording bands, choirs and orchestras. Wilbur recorded the Victoria Symphony, the Clear Lake Symphony, the Corpus Christi Symphony and the Victoria Bach Festival. He had a great passion for classical music and was one of the earliest supporters of the Victoria Bach Festival. A number of his recordings were sent to NPR, some which were broadcast.
Survivors include sons, John Collins and wife Jessica, Clark Collins and wife Rosalind, Curtis Collins; daughters, Evelyn Kohl and husband William (Billy), Donna Janko Brown, and Carol Kass, 16 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, and 5 great great grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, aunt and uncle, he was preceded in death by a son, David Collins and brother, Albert Collins and Dorothy Collins, the mother of his 7 children.
A Memorial celebrating Wilbur’s life will be held December 8, 2018, at Rosewood Funeral Chapel, 2:00 PM.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Victoria Bach Festival.
Words of comfort may be shared with the family at www.rosewoodfuneralchapel.com