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Pelion servant, patriot, friend passes

Pelion, SC - Benny L. Collings, Sr. of Pelion passed away recently after a short illness. He was 84.

Benny was born on March 2, 1935 in Kingsport, Tennessee. He was the son of the late Gardner and Alpha Collings. He peacefully left this earth on October 21, 2019 with his wife, Kay, at his side. Benny was a true southern gentleman who always put others first. His life was focused on his love of Christ, love of family and love of others.

Benny was a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He was an avid Volunteers fan and rarely missed a game. Benny was a licensed professional engineer and the founder, President, and CEO of Collings-Parker Associates. Benny worked across the country and was known as being honest and ethical in all aspects of his business and his personal life.

Benny and his beloved wife Kay moved to Pelion after he retired. After moving to South Carolina, the couple became active members of Convent Baptist Church. There he served on the Pastor Search Committee and the Kitchen Addition Committee.

Benny was also a member of the Pelion Ruritan Club. While leading the Patriotism and Citizenship Committee, Benny developed the idea of having a Veterans Memorial in the town. He led the project as the manager and building chair, seeing the Pelion Ruritan Veterans Memorial to completion on Memorial Day 2015. It is now recognized as one of the leading Veterans’ Memorials in the state. Every Memorial Day, a huge crowd floods Pelion for a somber service of remembrance. There are speakers, music, and the flag is retired and a new one raised. It is a must attend event for dignitaries from across Lexington County.

Benny is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Kay P. Collings. Benny affectionately called her “kayp”. He will also be missed by his beloved kitty, Jethro. He is also survived by three children, Tracy (Jeff) Reed, Lewis (Susan) Collings, and Becky (Craig) Burow; six grandchildren and one great granddaughter. Benny is also survived by his sister-in-law, Geneva Spires; special family, Gail Corley, Rene (Rick) Free, Brad Livingston, Angie Olawsky, Keith Poole, Jeff Spires and six nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents and his loving brother, Jack Collings.

A service to celebrate this great man’s life was held last Thursday, October 24, 2019 at Convent Baptist Church. He was buried at Oaklawn Cemetery on Pine Street in Pelion. This spot is so appropriate given that Benny and Kay both loved Pelion, its surrounding community, and all the people who shared in calling it home.

Benny Collins was a one of a kind. He believed in serving the community without looking for what was in it for him. He was a man of great class and the aforementioned title “Southern Gentleman” is a perfect description.

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