Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins (Posthumous) - US Navy - Tallahassee, FL

Admiral Collins is a veteran who spent the majority of his life in service to his country and the citizens of the great state of Florida. He was an Eagle Scout, President of his high school graduating class and was voted as the most likely to succeed upon graduating. He then was appointed to the US Naval Academy and graduated with honors. He spent 10 years on active duty before transitioning to the Navy Reserve and dedicated his life for the purpose of seeking ways to build better lives for our veterans and their families. He pioneered a financial system to accommodate our active duty personnel aboard ship and at various military bases and commands worldwide. Other accomplishments are contained throughout this document highlighting his work with veterans and their families.

One of the high points of my life was being selected by Admiral Collins to serve as a Director with the Florida Veterans Foundation. I soon learned the Admiral was a brilliant leader, steeped in professionalism and possessed of a deep and abiding desire to serve all veterans in the state of Florida by providing emergency financial support to both veterans and their families. As a result of his caring attitude, vision and love of our veterans, the state of Florida has thousands of veterans and their families living a better life because of his inspirational leadership.

Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. USNR (Ret.) died on July 29, 2010 in Tampa, FL. He was 75 years old. A native of Tallahassee and son of Mary Call Darby Collins and former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins, Roy attained Eagle Scout rank and was President of the Leon High School student body. Following USNA graduation with the 19th Company, he served aboard CALVERT (APA-32), attended Submarine School, and reported to CHIVO (SS-341). He was the commissioning weapons officer on JAMES MADISON (SSBN-627). Roy resigned from active duty in 1966. In the Naval Reserve, he was CO of the minesweeper THRUSH (MSC-204) and CO of various Reserve submarine units. Subsequently, he served as Commander, Naval Reserve Readiness Command, Region 8. After selection for flag rank, Roy became Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Reserve) for Logistics until retiring in 1990.

In his business life, Roy was instrumental in the growth of electronic payment systems and was the founding President of Financial Transaction Systems, Inc. Later, he was President of Dynamic Realty of Tampa and Chairman of Gateway Holdings Inc. brokering commercial and multi-family properties. In 1985, Roy founded the Armed Forces Financial Network pioneering ATMs and point-of-sale devices in military installations worldwide, including aircraft carriers. He retired as President of AFFN in 2003.

In civic life, Roy served in leadership positions with his church, Kiwanis, and other community organizations. He was formerly on the board of the USNA Alumni Association and was a member of the President’s Circle.

In 2006, Roy was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate despite being the choice of the majority of Florida’s newspapers. In 2007, Governor Crist appointed Roy to be Executive Director, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, where he was serving at the time of his death. A champion for veterans, he created the Florida Veterans’ Foundation to honor and care for wounded veterans.

Admiral Collins is survived by his wife of 51 years, the former Jane Sisson; daughters Carol Jane Smith and Helen Call Collins; sons LeRoy III and Edward; and eight grandchildren. A memorial service was held on August 2, 2010 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Tampa. He was interred, with military honors, at the family’s ancestral home in Tallahassee on August 4. Roy will be remembered as a stellar public servant and business entrepreneur who personified the values of integrity, honesty, and service to country and his fellow man.

LeRoy Collins, Jr. Obituary

Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr., USNR (Ret.), 75, died Thursday, July 29, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. A native of Tallahassee, Collins was bom on September 3, 1934 to Mary Call Darby Collins and former Florida Governor LeRoy Collins. He graduated from Leon High School where he was an Eagle Scout and served as president of the student body. He then accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in the class of 1956, embarking upon a 34-year military career and retiring as a two-star Rear Admiral in 1990.

Admiral Collins served in the Navy for over 10 years of active duty, beginning with a tour aboard amphibious transport USS Calvert (APA-32). He also served as an analyst for Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C. and as a ballistic missile weapons officer aboard the newly commissioned nuclear powered fleet ballistic missile submarine USS James Madison (SSBS-627). He transferred to the Navy Reserves in 1966.

While a naval reservist, Admiral Collins served as commanding officer of the coastal minesweeper USS Thrush (MSC-204), and later as commanding officer of various Navy Reserve submarine units. He was the Navy’s liaison to the Florida National Guard, and later commanding officer of the Naval liaison unit at U.S. Readiness Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Admiral Collins also became a prominent businessman and civic leader in Florida. He was instrumental in the growth of electronic payment systems in the United States, starting with the introduction of credit cards in Florida and the Southeast. As the founder and president of the Armed Forces Financial Network, Admiral Collins pioneered the deployment of ATMs and point-of-sale devices in U.S. military installations worldwide, including major U.S. aircraft carriers. He also held several other positions, including founding president of Financial Transaction Systems, Inc. and a senior executive of Telecredit Service Center, Inc.

Rather than retiring, Admiral Collins mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2006. He was then appointed by Governor Charlie Crist as the executive director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, where he directed the state agency responsible for all of Florida’s 1.8 million veterans. Continuing his support of the military community. Admiral Collins also recently founded the Florida Veterans Foundation, Inc.

Admiral Collins also served in leadership positions of various organizations, most notably as president of the Tampa Kiwanis Club, a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization, and a several term Vestry member at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. He also served on the board at Tampa General Hospital. At the time of his death, he was on the boards of the USS Victory Ship and the Collins Center for Public Policy.

He married the love of his life, Carol Jane Sisson, of Tampa, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in 1959, and the couple celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary in June 2010.

Admiral Collins is survived by his wife, Jane Sisson; children Carol Jane Collins Smith (Gregg), Helen Call Collins, LeRoy Collins III (Mary Ellen), and Edward Sisson Collins (Chaz), all of Tampa; and eight grandchildren Phillip Call Jacob, Virginia Darby Smith, Gregory Coyle Smith, Christian Alexander Ines, Sara Irene Ines, Katherine Grace Smith, Hannah Collins Smith and Ayden Elizabeth Collins. He is also survived by his siblings Jane Collins Aurell (John), Tallahassee, Fla.; Mary Call Collins Proctor (Palmer), Tallahassee, Fla.; and Sarah Darby Collins, Miami, Fla. and many nieces and nephews.