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“Virginia,. Bruce and I were saddened to hear about your dad's passing. He was such a kind sweet man and we so enjoyed visiting with him at...Read More »
1 of 5 | Posted by: Dana Holloway - Houston, TX

“Buddy was a great father in law and was always so kind to me.I have fond memories of him and will never forget him.I know he will be missed; ”
2 of 5 | Posted by: Kim Laws - Weatherford

“Buddy always had a big Texas smile for everybody. We all depended on him to keep us up to date on all the railroad dramas, he knew everybody. He...Read More »
3 of 5 | Posted by: David Price - Huntsville, TX

“I have truly missed seeing you since I moved to Florida. I have tried to reach out but did not get an answer. But I pray that God is riding the train...Read More »
4 of 5 | Posted by: Cheryl Gruner - Homosassa, FL

“We are truely sorry for yours and our loses, may God bless him into Heaven !! ”
5 of 5 | Posted by: George Crenshaw - DESOTO, TX

James Garland Collins—who was known to friends and family as Buddy—passed away on July 20, 2019, at the age of 82. Buddy was born on July 3, 1937, to Idella Louise McGowen and Rufus Hamlet Collins in Texarkana, Texas, but lived all of his adult life in Mesquite and Garland, Texas. Buddy was the sixth of seven children. Gay Wells is his oldest and only surviving sibling. He was preceded in death by brothers Rufus Ray Collins, Bobby (Dinky) Collins, and Jerry Collins, and sisters Barbara Ann Collins and Colleen O'Brien.

At the age of 17, Buddy followed in the footsteps of his father and maternal grandfather by going to work for the railroad. Although he started his career with the Texas & Pacific Railroad, over the course of his 45 year career he also worked for Missouri Pacific, Union Pacific, and Amtrak. Buddy got his start as a Yard Clerk, but later served as a Yard Master, and Fireman before getting the job every little boy wants—the engineer that drives the train. If you ask his granddaughter, the best part of his job for the railroad was when he got to drive the circus train into town.

After his retirement from the railroad, Buddy spent time visiting with his four children, seven grandchildren, and four greatgrandchildren. He was an ever present face at family meals and celebrations, and also at their recitals, band concerts, and sporting events—always with a pocket or two full of peppermints. Buddy also enjoyed the company of his dog and faithful sidekick Riley, whom he loved dearly and spoiled rotten. From time to time, Buddy was even known to sprinkle Riley's morning kibble with some his own favorite condiment—chocolate syrup. During retirement, Buddy also became the glue for a group of Dallas-area retirees that he fondly referred to as "Old Farts." He organized monthly breakfasts for the group for years and consistently rallied others to attend by making reminder phone calls every month. Buddy also became an active member in the Edward Kiest Masonic Lodge, where he enjoyed working on various projects for the Lodge and building friendships with its members.

Buddy was a humble man, who kept his word and steadfastly kept the confidences of those who confided in him. He was also a self-educated man who valued learning to fix or tinker with anything. There was seldom a car or home repair project he hesitated to tackle. Although some of this tenacity came from necessity, a large part came from the pride of being able to do it himself. Buddy was also self-taught when it came to investing and saving money, and he developed such a depth of knowledge that many people sought his advice over the years.

Buddy is survived by children Virginia DeBrow and husband Bruce of Terrell, Texas; William G. Collins of Weatherford, Texas; Frances McLaughlin and husband Greg of Garland, Texas; and Brenda Collins of Garland, Texas, as well as his former spouse, Alma Collins. Buddy is also survived by grandchildren Stephanie DeBrow, Blair DeBrow and wife Carly, Jim Crumby, David Mc Laughlin, Kevin McLaughlin and wife Kenna, Jeffery Collins, Mark McLaughlin and wife Kaylee, as well as great-grandchildren Rylan Crumby, Zoey Collins, London Kay Collins, and Jaxon Taylor Collins, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to one of the charities with significant meaning to Buddy, or to your favorite charity.
Gary Sinise Foundation (
Museum of American Railroad (
American Cancer Society (