Thomas Felton McCollum

February 21, 1922 ~ December 26, 2021 (age 99)


Thomas Felton McCollum, age 99, of Millersburg, Ohio passed away Sunday, December 26, 2021 at LifeCare Hospice, Wooster, Ohio following a brief illness.

Private graveside services will take place at Prairie Township Cemetery, Holmesville, Ohio. Those wishing to share a memory or make online condolences may do so by visiting Family suggests memorial contributions be made to LifeCare Hospice, 1900 Akron Rd, Wooster, Ohio 44691. 

Thomas was born February 21, 1922 in Shreve, Ohio and was the son of Ernest and Iva (Felton) McCollum. On December 18, 1969 he married Ellen J. (Doty) Lowe, she survives.

Thomas previously worked for Leedy Brothers Hardware in Shreve, Kent Latex, Addressograph-Multigraph in Holmesville, and had once owned and operated the Western Auto store in Loudonville. He was a veteran of WW II, serving in the US Army Air Corps and was a member of the American Legion Post 192.

Surviving in addition to his wife are his son, Gary (Lori) McCollum of Wooster, Ohio; son-in-law, Bill Hixson of Wooster, Ohio; stepchildren, Dusty (David) Smeller, Becky Barnes and Brent McCollum; four grandchildren, Wendy Swartzentruber, Katherine McCollum, Benjamin McCollum and Nathan McCollum; seven step grandchildren, Ryan Wengerd, Danielle Wagers, Emily Smeller, Doug Barnes, Crystal Barnes, Shane Barnes and Alexandra McCollum; six great-grandchildren; and numerous step great-grandchildren. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers that died during their childhood; a sister, June Kramer; his daughter, Barbara Hixson; stepson, Charles Wengerd; and step grandson, Michael Barnes.

Thomas was an avid sports person, always watched football, basketball and baseball or was listening on the radio. He was the center on the basketball team at Shreve High School and was usually the high scorer, of course the games seldom went over 20 points! He was on the baseball team and as a junior in 1940 helped win the Wayne County League Championship. Known for being a homerun hitter, other teams tried to walk him, but he could usually find a way to get a hit. 

During World War II he was stationed in Fort Myers, Florida. The Navy had a traveling baseball team and they played a couple of games on base. They had a pitcher called Bob Feller, a major league pitcher with 100 mph fast ball, dad was the only one to get a hit off of him and one home run! They started up a friendship that lasted a lifetime and once we took him to an Arrows game and it was announced that Bob Feller was signing autographs and dad wanted to go see him and he had never told me about the story. When we walked up to Bob he looked up and a smile came over his face and said, "Red how are you doing we haven't seen each other for a long time". Dad was called Red because of his hair, they talked about dad getting hits off of him and a home run and about going to Bob's wedding, one of the few that were allowed. 

While in the Army he was in charge of maintenance of the planes and wouldn't let them take off if there was anything that might not be quite right. Sometimes the higher up officers didn't like it because they wanted all the planes up and flying. Dad got called up many times to the commanding officer to justify why that some of the planes were grounded, he always had the paperwork and stated "No one will fly a plane that is not safe, those pilots will come home safe because they know the plane was safe." That's just the kind of guy he was

 He wasn't a golfer, but worked for about 5 years for Arnold Palmer, and was so well liked that Arnold let him live in one of his farmhouses on his property

 He also loved to go camping every year usually to a state or government campground, but always with some historical place nearby, he loved history

Thomas worked at Leedy Brothers in Shreve after the war for many years, him and my uncle Wes Plant were the electricians in Shreve. I helped wire up many old houses, they taught me a lot. Dad really liked to fish with Uncle Delmar Plant, they would go up to Lake Erie as much as possible, and he was always so proud to show what he had caugh

He was the last of the old Plant gang in Shreve, one of the last World War II vets left, as time makes things fade, I will always carry his achievements in my mind, he may be gone but not forgotten. He might be playing ball right now with his buddies, I hope so!

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