Ocean City Today

Thomas Hiram Collins

Mar 08, 2018

printed 03/09/2018

Sebastian, Florida

Thomas Hiram Collins died in his own home peacefully on Feb. 24, 2018 at the age of 69, four weeks before he was to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Tommy was born March 27, 1948, soon after the ending of World War II and was named in honor of his Uncle Hiram, his father’s only brother, lost on Omaha Beach, during the landings of D-Day.

Tommy, or “TC” as his friends called, him grew up in Baltimore City and on weekends the family would drive to Ocean City, Maryland to build and develop their beloved Collinwood Cottages and apartments.

Tommy learned the building trades during this time period from his father,” Scoop.” He and his family spent every summer in Ocean City, and in the early ‘60s, the family took up permanent residence on 34th Street.

At an early age, Tommy’s entrepreneurial spirit began to blossom and he created Tom’s Beach Service and Tom’s vending machines.

After graduating from Stephen Decatur High School, Tommy headed off to the University of Maryland School of Business Administration and began his lifelong love of facts and figures, profit and loss statements and balance sheets.

He immediately started his formal career, designing and building multiple projects in Ocean City, culminating with the creation of the Barn on 34th Street, a unique structure, with a small footprint and a vast volume.

This was the first project named after his fallen Uncle Hiram. He called it Hiram’s General store, which he ran and managed for several years.

In the late ‘70s TC moved to Vero Beach, buying his great Uncle Edwin’s and great Aunt Cele’s seaside cottage home. Cele was the sister of his grandmother, Mayne Cullen Collins, whom was the first woman member to the Maryland House of Delegates from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Surely, some of her political expertise passed onto her grandson. From this first little house in Summerplace, TC, along with his wife, Gretchen, started raising their son, Will.

With Vero Beach now his permanent home, TC started Collins Companies, developing multiple properties culminating with a small marina in Sebastian and began developing his lifelong dream, and again, in honor of his fallen uncle he called it Captain Hiram’s, and the rest is history.

TC will be remembered as a great father to his son, Will, a wonderful uncle to his niece and nephews, a great cousin to his extended family, a warm and caring brother, but most of all as an all-around fun-loving guy who loved life and lived it to the fullest and was a best friend to many.

TC supported many charities and in lieu of flowers, please honor and remember Tom Collins by making memorial contributions to the Veteran’s Council of Indian River County, 1800 27th Street, Vero Beach, Florida 32960.

Tom Collins is survived by his son, Will, (Ashleigh and Will’s mother, Gretchen); his brothers, Skip (Pam) and John (Tracey); nephews Gaemus Collins (Tracy and their two children, Ellington and Elisa) and Michael Collins; and niece, April Collins Winterson (Nate and daughter, Mila).

A memorial celebration was held on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at Capt. Hiram’s Resort in Sebastian Florida, with another service planned for mid-May in Ocean City, Maryland.

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