Thomas Andrews “Tommy” Collins, 67, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, at his home. He was surrounded by family and friends who shared fond memories and a tremendous amount of love with him during his final days.
Born Sept. 27, 1951, in Norfolk, Tommy was the son of the late Charles L. Collins and Geraldine Lowery Collins.
Tommy was a graduate of First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach and the National Training Institute of the Drug Enforcement Administration; he earned an associate of arts degree in criminology from St. Leo’s College. Tommy began working at a young age at the beloved Plaza Bakery in Virginia Beach, but he dedicated the majority of his life to working on both sides of the criminal justice system.
He began his career as an undercover narcotics officer with the Virginia Beach Police Department and later worked as a uniformed officer and detective; he was awarded Police Officer of the Year in 1978 from both the Virginia Beach Fraternal Order of Police and the Virginia Beach Jaycees. In the early 1980s, Tommy began his career as a private investigator. During this time, he focused on criminal defense and domestic cases. Tommy was a firm believer in a defendant’s right to a fair trial, and he worked hard to support his clients in that pursuit.
During his life, Tommy was an active member of the Police Association of Virginia and the Virginia Beach Fraternal Order of Police, serving as president of both organizations. He was a member of the Kempsville Masonic Lodge and an active participant in a variety of activities that involved his children, including coaching football and baseball and serving as the PTSA president of their high school.
Tommy was also an incredible, self-taught chef. During his free time, he could be found in the kitchen, effortlessly preparing the most unique and delicious meals. Tommy was a devoted husband and father who enjoyed traveling; spending time with his family; hosting gatherings in his home; and sharing a big laugh, good food and a glass of wine with the ones he loved.
Tommy is survived by his wife of 40 years, Deborah (Debby) Smith Collins; son, Jason Andrews Collins (Heather); daughter, Lauren Wingfield Collins (John King); and granddaughter, Shallyn Brooke Collins, who was the ultimate light of his life. Tommy leaves behind three siblings, Chuck Collins, Dottie Krusenklaus and Cheryl Toler. Finally, he is survived by his mother-in-law, Dorothy Wingfield Smith; two brothers-in-law; two sisters-in-law; three nieces; three nephews; several extended family members; and too many friends to count.
Tommy will be dearly missed and fondly remembered for his big heart, unmistakable laugh and mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 3, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Princess Anne Chapel. A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 4, at the funeral home chapel.
Memorial donations may be made to the Police Association of Virginia, P.O. Box 3636, Norfolk, VA 23514; or Innocence Project, 40 Worth St., Suite 701, New York, NY 10013, Attention: Development Department.
Share online condolences with the family at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home & Crematory.