Joseph Leland Collier

Joseph Leland Collier (1945-2012)

Joseph Leland Collier passed away in New Bern, N.C., on November 6, 2012, after a 23 year battle with advanced prostate cancer. He was sustained by his faith, his family, his friends, his wisdom, and his sense of humor.

He was born to Christine Wilber Collier and Joseph Wesley (Caillier) Collier in Chickasaw, Ala., He graduated from Vigor H.S. in 1963. He attended Mobile College, then entered the USN Hospital Corps School in 1965, and advanced through the enlisted ranks to Master Chief. In 1973, he joined the combined Air Force/Navy Physician Assistant program. He received his B.S. from the University of Nebraska and graduated from the P. A. program in 1976. His MENSA intelligence, intuition, wit, and concern made him an excellent caregiver. He served in Pensacola, Cuba and Guam. Before being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he served 27 years in the Navy, achieving the rank of CWO4.

He was dedicated to his job, but more so to his God and family. Throughout his life, he was active in churches and chapels - leading Bible studies, Sunday school classes, and singing tenor in the choir.

Joe loved nature and growing plants. He was an avid reader. He was a fantastic fisherman and loved saltwater fishing from his Carpe Diem. He appreciated this country and the opportunity to photograph and travel across it. His favorite hobby was SCUBA and he became a dive master in 1982. Many overseas tours and trips were centered on opportunities to dive.

He was a proud, loving, and giving father, who always made spending time with his children a priority, and who delighted in his grandkids (who adored him).

Joe suffered courageously through 22 years of actual treatment, and yet he was often the one who lifted us up.

We want to thank Dr. Richard Gorman and every member of his staff for the loving care they've provided the last 5 years. We also received kind support from Craven County Hospice for the past 7 months, especially his dear friend Sharika. Great appreciation goes to Garber UMC for the many ways you've shown your love and support.

Joe is survived by his loving wife of almost 48 years, Pamela (Priser) Collier; and their two caring daughters, Kimberly McGee and April O'Donnell, and her husband Patrick O'Donnell, also by eight well-loved grandchildren, Stephanie Taylor, Thomas and Edward Fleming, Sophia and Bailey McGee, and Christopher, Kirstin, and Kelly O'Donnell; and five great-grandchildren. Joe is survived, too, by all five of his giving siblings, Mary Lou Collier, Ellen Moore, Carl Caillier, Brenda Cooper, and Jeannie Grady.

Joe will be cremated by Kahlert Funeral Home in Maysville. There will be a reception at Garber UMC on Friday, November 9th at 1 p.m. followed by a Memorial Service at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials should be given to the RCS Homeless Shelter in New Bern.

Published in Sun Journal from Nov. 8 to Nov. 11, 2012