McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

October 24, 2012

Philanthropist James T. 'J.T.' Collier dies at 72

McALESTER — On Sunday, co-founder of Pride In McAlester and area philanthropist James T. “J.T.” Collier died at 72 at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.

“J.T. (Collier) was a great friend to both myself and the city of McAlester,” former Mayor Kevin Priddle said Tuesday afternoon. “He was actively involved in the community and will be greatly missed.”

Priddle has been named as honorary pallbearer for J.T. Collier’s gaveside services set Thursday at 10 a.m. at Oak Hill Cemetery in McAlester.

“We were friends in school,” said  Ward 1 McAlester Councilman Weldon Smith said. “We’ve been friends for over 60 years.”

Smith said Collier left the area after he graduated, but when he moved back, Smith made contact with Collier to get his help with starting Pride In McAlester.

Smith said in the first year and a half, Collier took Pride In McAlester and made it a 40-plus hour-a-week job.

Smith said Collier worked on many local improvement projects such as the OKLA Theatre restoration and served on boards such as the McAlester Board of Ethics and the McAlester Regional Health Center Board of Directors.

“He never forgot his home town,” Smith said. “And always looked for ways to improve it.”

Collier was also an active member of the Friends of the Library with the McAlester Public Library, assisting with the ongoing relocation and building project.

Collier graduated from McAlester High School in 1957 and served as an officer in the United States Air Force as a navigator from 1961 to 1962. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1966 with a master of degree and worked as an architect.

He co-owned and operated  Brooks-Collier from 1976 to 1995 and then owned and operated James T. Collier Associates from 1996 to 1998, all in Houston, Texas.

“It was because of J.T. Collier’s enthusiasm I became involved with Pride In McAlester,” friend and long-time PIM member Gwenn Tittsworth said. “He didn’t take no for an answer.”

Titsworth said he would take the things people would say were impossible and make them possible.

“For about two years, I worked with him on a daily basis,” Titsworth said about working with Collier at PIM. “He was a man who got things done.”

Former president of PIM and friend Mark Wilket said he met Collier when Collier came back to McAlester after retiring and saw the town in dispair.

“He and Smith came to Triad (Hazardous Waste Transportation Company) and inspired us to help and do the things we have done,” Wilket said. “Not only did he never take no for an answer, but no project was too big or too small.”

“He was the first president of PIM,” Wilket said of his experience with Collier and PIM. “And I had some big shoes to fill when he left.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down Rise of the Milkbots TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii Lindsay Lohan's Jaw-Dropping Secret President Sends Message To Boston And Marathon Runners LA Pastor Attracts Churchgoers with Pot Lauren Stoner Shows Off Her Incredible Bikini Body
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.