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Orlin Leon Collins

Orlin Leon Collins, 84, passed away Sunday, February 7, 2021 with his children by his side at his residence in Johnson City, TN.

Orlin was born in Elizabethton, TN in 1936. He met Katherine Banner in 1957 at a revival at Lily Dale Christian Church; they married a year later. He joined the Air Force, and then later built a career on the electronics training he had in the service. He first worked at Kingsport Press, where he met Richard Smith, who would become his best friend for the next 50 years. He worked on all kinds of electronics, but he was proudest of his work on the wiring of the Saturn V rockets in Cape Canaveral, FL during the Apollo Program. He spent the last 25 years of his career wiring printing presses for Heidelberg, Inc. Upon Orlin’s retirement in 2004, he and Kathy returned home to East Tennessee where they lived on Boone Lake, entertaining scores of friends and family with rides on the pontoon boat and jet ski, and cookouts for birthdays, July 4th, or for no reason at all.

Orlin loved his family, and he was a doting father and grandfather. He was happiest when he had his kids and grandkids around, and he always made sure to have candy on hand when they visited.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Katherine Banner Collins; his adopted children Louis Banner, Louise Banner Greiser, Donald Banner, and Charlotte Banner Haggerty; his brother, Robert Collins; his sisters: Wilma Collins Taylor and Ann Collins Taylor.

He is survived by his son, Charles Keith Collins and husband Domonic Potorti; his daughter, Kristy Rae-Collins Crooks and husband James; grandchildren: Jason, Melissa, Jennifer, Bryan, Valerie, Summer, Joseph, and Charles; eight great grandchildren; his sister, Charlsie Collins Lyle, and a multitude of nieces and nephews and their children.

The family will receive friends from 12:00-1:00 PM on Thursday, February 11 in the Robert Ledford Funeral Home Chapel. A brief graveside service will be held at 1:30 PM at Evergreen Cemetery. Pastor Michael Harris will officiate. Family and friends will serve as pallbearers.

Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the Collins family through our complimentary, interactive Book of Memories at

Robert Ledford Funeral Home, 720 Ohio Avenue, Erwin, is privileged to serve the Collins family. (423) 743-1380.