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Aug. 28, 1921-Feb. 11, 2009

U.S.A.F. retired Col. Kenneth L. Collings, 87, 337 N.C. Highway 581 S., died Wednesday at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

A service to celebrate the life of Col. Collings will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church with Dr. Glenn Phillips officiating. Burial will held at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Col. Collings was born Aug. 28, 1921, in Texline, Texas, son of the late Oliver Thomas and Mary Audie Collings. He was married to Lucille Anderson Collings who died Nov. 23, 1999. Ken was a member of First Baptist Church.

Col. Collings joined the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in 1942. He served in active duty from Jan. 1, 1943 to Jan. 1, 1974. Throughout his 31 years of service, Col. Collings was stationed at air bases in the states, Iceland, Germany, Japan and Vietnam.

In 1949, he flew 92 missions in the Berlin Airlift, and in 1963 and 1964 he flew 87 combat missions in Vietnam. In 1945, while stationed in Iceland, Col. Collings survived the crash of his P-47 by bailing out of the aircraft at 700 feet altitude. He landed on the ice immediately after his parachute opened causing injuries to both of his legs. His service in the states included Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii, the Pentagon, and finally as base commander of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro.

In his earlier military career, he was a fighter pilot instructor for the P-47 and P-40 aircraft. He documented 4088 hours as a qualified pilot of 20 different aircraft. He also received many awards and decorations throughout his career.

After his retirement from the U.S.A.F., Kenneth Collings served as city manager for the town of Selma, four years and the city of Goldsboro, eight years.

Kenneth being an avid outdoorsman: hunter, fisherman, tennis player, and golfer, he enjoyed many adventurous moments with his family and friends. After retiring as city manager of Goldsboro, he enjoyed numerous outdoor activities with his family on Lake Gaston. His favorite pets included his boxer, Max; his Irish setter, Bush; and his two Labradors, Bobby and Rob. Kenneth highly prized quality time with all his grandchildren and they share many fond memories of their times together.

Surviving is his wife, Ruth G. Collings; daughter, Sheri Perkins and husband, Bert, of Rosewood; sons, Mark Collings and wife, Betty, of Greenville and Kenneth Collings Jr. and wife, Mary, of Stafford, Va.; grandchildren, Lee Perkins and wife, Jennifer, of Cary, Melissa Capps and husband, Nicholas, of Wilmington, Jessica Griffith and husband, Caleb, of Garner, and Shannon Seybold of Arlington, Va.; great-grandchildren, Brady Perkins of Cary, Josiah and Judah Capps of Wilmington.

In addition to his parents and first wife, Col. Collings was preceded in death by a grandson, Kenneth Collings III.

The family request memorials be made to the Disabled American Veterans, 112 Patrick Street, Goldsboro, N.C., 27530.

The family will receive friends Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Seymour Funeral Home.


Published in Obituaries on February 12, 2009 1:47 PM