David Chalmer Collins Jr.
David Chalmer Collins Jr. was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina on July 23, 1958 to David Chalmer Collins Sr., a parachute rigger with the 82nd Airborne, and Barbara Christine Collins (Sztykiel) a refugee who fled Poland. He died in Toledo, Ohio on June 17th, 2021 at the age of 62.
The dates and locations of his birth and death are the only aspects of his life that were unremarkable. David experienced and accomplished more in his life than most men ever do. After completing graduate school, David launched a successful career in the automotive industry. He developed the first water-based paint system for cars, which was eventually used as the standard across the industry. He left the auto industry to start his own company, which helped turn around factories in Mexico and China, and created the assembly line for the F-35 fighter plane. At the time of his death, his company was expanding out of China and into the Middle East, Vietnam, and North America.
Yet what made David truly remarkable was not what he did but who he was. David was an outgoing, down-to-earth man who made friends wherever he went. He loved to help people and give advice. He livened up any event with stories from his travels and experiences. What gave him the most joy, however, was his family. Despite living half a world away, he was always able to transmit his love and affection across continents via long phone calls, enthusiastic video chats, "amazing" dad jokes, and meaningful visits. He is survived by his wife, Vickie (Yi-lin), his mother, Barbara, his sister, Debbie (Andy) Popchock, his sons David III (April), Eric (Becky), and Brian (Maria), and three grandsons David IV, Henry, and Charlie. He will be missed by all who knew him.
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Published by The Detroit News & Detroit Free Press from Aug. 2 to Aug. 3, 2021.