Ivory Collins, Jr. was born on May 17, 1935 in Wilmington, Delaware. Ivory was the son of the late Vera and Ivory Collins, Sr. and was raised by his grandparents, the late Gracie and George Rider, when his mother passed away. He was called home to be with the Lord on March 2, 2019.
Ivory completed his early education at Elbert Elementary School and graduated from Howard High School in 1953. He was an awesome basketball player at Howard and went on to earn a basketball scholarship to attend Delaware State College, where he played under the late coach Bennie George. Ivory was an integral part of the team, helping lead them to many victories. He also pledged Omega Psi Phi while at Delaware State and graduated with a degree in Health and Physical Education. He later took additional coursework at the University of Delaware.
After college, Ivory enlisted in the United States Army where he was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was deployed to Okinawa, Japan before returning to Delaware. Ivory then spent his career as a public servant working as an administrator and teacher at the Ferris School. He also taught in the public schools including Bayard, Bancroft, and Wilmington High. In 1995, he retired from A.I. DuPont Middle School after 35+ years in the public school system. Ivory touched and transformed the lives of many young people through the years. He would often receive calls and visits from some of these students, wanting to let him know how well they were doing, and thanking him for inspiring them to be their best.
Ivory continued to play basketball throughout his adult years and played for the Wilmington Old Timers. On March 21, 2015, he was inducted into the Delaware Legends Basketball Hall of Fame. He also enjoyed swimming, camping, dancing, drawing, tennis, baseball, and football (he loved the Eagles). His other hobbies included reading and reciting poetry (his favorite being “If” by Kipling), playing chess, and playing the guitar and piano (often threatening to take his wife’s job as choir musician). He was also a former member of The Monday Club. Ivory was a serious jokester and loved to read and collect comic strips. Even during his most recent illness Ivory kept his dry sense of humor going, often keeping the nurses laughing at his jokes.
Ivory loved to go and visit his big brother Rodney, where they shared memories of growing up in Southbridge and North Carolina. Together they plotted the future course of the world! Ivory loved his family and was extremely proud of his children’s and grandchildren’s accomplishments. Proud “Pop Pop Ivory” enjoyed watching his grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s sporting events and school activities and could always be found critiquing from the sidelines. He never tired of trying to inspire them and giving encouragement to pursue their dreams.
Ivory was a devoted Christian, finding the Lord and joining Mt. Joy United Methodist Church at an early age. At Mt. Joy, he served faithfully as a member of the Gospel Choir, the Mass Choir, and the Men’s Chorus. He led quite a few songs, including congregation favorites, “God is Using Me” and “Lord I’ve Tried.” He was also a former chairman of the trustee board and lay delegate to the Peninsula Delaware Methodist Conference until his health began to decline. He enjoyed teaching discipleship classes because he felt that it made a difference in the lives of others, as well as his own.
Ivory was preceded in death by his sister, Gladys McCloud; brothers, Rodney and James Collins; and granddaughter, Brandee Ford.
He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 29 years, Maureta Collins; daughters Golden (Michael), Ivy (Albert), Tiana, Seandra, and Regina; grandchildren, Collins, Courtney, Amber, Aften, Amera, and Corry; great-grandchildren, Clover and Kendyn; brothers, Arthur (Alease) and Lawrence; sisters, Janet (Ernest) and Donna; sister- in-law, Joanne Collins; brother-in-law, John McCloud; and a host of other family members and close friends.
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