Dr. Harry Collins Passes Away At Age 77

Dr. Harry Collins

From the American Seed Trade Association: (November 20, 2018) - It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Dr. Harry Collins on November 11, 2018. Collins was a past Chair of ASTA and was well respected across the entire seed industry.

Collins received his B.S. degree in Agronomy from Rutgers University, Masters in Agronomy and Plant Breeding from the University of Arizona, and his Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding from North Carolina State University.

In addition to his dedicated career in plant breeding and genetics with Delta and Pine Land Company, Collins was involved in his adopted community of Scott and the state of Mississippi and as a leader in a number of national and international associations. He served on the Republican Executive Board for many years; he was President of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders from 1986-1987, as well as serving on its Board of Directors from 1981-1983; and he was the Chairman of ASTA from 2006-2007.

Collins is survived by his wife of 42 years, Dottie Collins, his son Mosby Blanks and wife, Angela, his daughter Meghan Stewart and husband, Daniel and granddaughters, Elizabeth and Faith Stewart.

The full obituary and funeral services here:

Greenville, MS - Dr. Harry Benjamin Collins III passed away at his home in Scott, MS on Sunday, November 11, 2018. He was born in Morristown, NJ, on January 22, 1941 to Harry Benjamin Collins Jr. and Meredith Humphrey Collins.

Dr. Collins received his B.S degree in Agronomy from Rutgers University and went on to receive his Masters in Agronomy and Plant Breeding from the University of Arizona. Ultimately earning his Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding from North Carolina State University. His career began to flourish when he went to work as a Soybean Breeder for Delta and Pine Land Company (D&PL) in Scott, MS in 1974. He participated in the development and release of many southern soybean varieties, most notably "Deltapine 105", which was a widely grown group 5 variety for nearly10 years. From 1980-1985 he was Director of Soybean Research and then became Vice President, Director of Research from 1985 to 1998. For those 13 years he was responsible for research associated with cotton, soybeans. sorghum and corn, including the then revolutionary development of cotton and soybean varieties with transgenic technology; he was the also leader of the expansion of both domestic and international breeding programs with cotton worldwide.

In April of 1998 Dr. Collins accepted the position of Vice President of Space Technology Transfer for Delta and Pine Land, where he worked with other ag-related companies in developing products for market that enhanced seed varieties, most notably with the Control of Plant Gene Expression patents, known as the Technology Protection System (TPS), which was jointly owned by D&PL and the USDA-A RS. Dr. Collins never shied away from controversy, and proudly represented the technology that many called "the Terminator.'' His steadfast allegiance to scientific advancement, devotion to agriculture and good humor held him in good stead, even as the nickname was applied directly to him upon occasion. Friends at the company and throughout the industry fondly called him 'The Sheriff' for his dedication to intellectual property and active protection of proprietary seed.

ln addition to his dedicated career in plant breeding and genetics, Dr. Collins was involved in his adopted community of Scott and the state of Mississippi and as a leader in national and international associations; he served on the Republican Executive Board for many years. He was President of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders (NCCPB) from 1986-1987, as well as serving on the Board of Directors from 1981-1983. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the American Seed Trade Associations in 2006-2007. Dr. Collins loved the life he and his family built in Scott, serving as Chief of the Bolivar County Fire Department from 1984-1992 and as an active member from 1975-2008. He also served as the President of the Scott Water and Sewer District from1996 until his death.

Dr. Collins is survived by his wife of 42 years, Dottie Collins, his son, Mosby Blanks and wife, Angela, his daughter, Meghan Stewart and husband, Daniel and granddaughters, Elizabeth and Faith Stewart. He is preceded in death by his brother, Tom Collins (Leslie), and granddaughter. Abigail Stewart. He also leaves behind a sister, Meredith Applegate (Ken) of Houston, TX, and a brother, Ray Collins of Sterling, PA, as well as many friends, colleagues and neighbors who will remember his loyalty, hard work and dedication.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2018 with Visitation at 10:00 am followed by Funeral Services at 11 :00 am, under the direction of Mortimer Funeral Home. Both will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 1 John Calvin Circle in Greenville, MS.

Burial will follow at 3:00 pm at The Collins' Family Farm at 2110 Old Highway 50 in Eupora. MS.

Memorials may be sent to St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, TN, or U.C Davis PICU in Sacramento, CA.