Wilmer Grant Collier, Jr., of Slidell, LA, a beloved and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away on August 21, 2023. Grant was 86 years old. He is survived by his loving wife Barbie of 63 years, three children, Kim Dammicci (Tony) of Dallas, TX; Rick Collier of Homosassa, FL; and Ken Collier (Melissa) of Slidell, LA; ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister Chris Pell (Jim) of Mount Airy, NC. Grant was born on March 11, 1937, to Wilmer Grant Collier, Sr. and Edna Tickel Collier in Roanoke Rapids, NC. He earned Eagle Scout as a teenager and graduated from VA-146 Roanoke Rapids High School. He attended North Carolina State University before receiving a full Navy ROTC scholarship to Tulane University. He led the Tulane Naval ROTC drill team as commander, earned a degree in mathematics and chemistry and was an active member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. Upon graduation, Grant received his commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy and entered flight school at Pensacola Naval Air Station. A gifted attack pilot and decorated Vietnam veteran, he served his country for eight years. Known as “Peeps, Grant flew numerous combat and special missions in the A-4D Skyhawk for the “Blue Diamonds” VA-146 attack squadron aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. He also served as the squadron’s Weapons Training Officer. Grant was honored with medals and ribbons of commendation for national defense service, aerial combat, and meritorious acts during his service. He completed his last years in the Navy serving as an air-to-air combat master instructor at Pensacola Naval Air Station. He is honored in the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL. Following his honorable discharge, he flew for Pan American World Airways for five years. After retiring his wings, Grant embarked on a successful career in the insurance industry for four decades. He received numerous Sales Achievement National Quality Awards, became a Chartered Life Underwriter and was a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Grant was a master model builder and passionate remote controlled airplane pilot and builder who shared his love for flying. He loved his family dearly. He taught his children and grandchildren to fish, waterski, boat and hunt along with many valuable life lessons. He will be remembered by all who knew him as a man of his word with the utmost integrity.
Published in The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate September 8 – 10, 2023.