William “Bill” M. Collier, 74, of Marietta, Georgia passed away from this life to his eternal life on Friday, February 26, 2021, after a multi-year struggle with progressively advancing dementia. Bill is most remembered for his 27-year career in the Cobb County Public Schools in Georgia where he taught his passions of United States government and history. He was tenured first at East Cobb Junior High and then at Wheeler High, Garrett Middle, McEachern High, Walton High, and Harrison High Schools. Bill frequently sponsored extracurricular activities benefitting the school and local community, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Beta Clubs, and Interact Clubs. He regarded teaching as a calling, and he was known as a spirited educator who mentored students and guided them with life lessons beyond social studies instruction. Bill’s classroom was an open forum where all students were free to express themselves, regardless of ideology or politics. He routinely engaged in debating controversial topics with his passionate and expressive manner, a keen sense of humor, and unyielding adherence to guiding principles of integrity, honesty, and faith. He enthusiastically challenged his students to become Constitutional scholars and encouraged registering to vote and casting informed votes in every election. He especially treasured a series of student trips to Washington, D.C. where he personally guided students through our Nation’s capital.
Bill was born in Wetumpka, Alabama on June 12, 1946 to the late Tommie L. Collier, Sr., and Jessie Mae Collins Collier. His maternal grandparents were William Milton and Jessie Allison Collins of Welona, AL, and his paternal grandparents were Marvin S. and Annie Mae Johnson Collier of the Buyck Community in Elmore County, AL. Bill grew up in the Buyck Community and attended the Sewell Memorial School and Wetumpka High School, Class of 1964. Bill attended college at Auburn University and the University of Alabama, receiving a B.S. in Secondary Education with a Major in History from Auburn in 1968. He also earned his Juris Doctorate from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in Atlanta in 1976.
Though he called Cobb County home for most of his life, rural Alabama held a special place in his heart. Bill was proud of his Southern heritage and was enamored with Southern people, food, manners, and folklore. He possessed a wealth of knowledge regarding his ancestral history, and he was particularly influenced by the philosophical and political views of William Milton Collins. Bill had a strong faith and was an active member of several churches throughout his life from New Home Baptist Church in Titus, Alabama to Eastside Baptist Church and First Baptist Church Marietta in Georgia, where he enjoyed Sunday School (Men’s Class). Bill loved to sing hymns and listen to music (classical and oldies). Later in life and as long as he was able, he was active in the Lost Mountain Golden K. Kiwanis Club. Bill valued fellowship and was always available to talk to family, friends, and strangers.
He is survived by his wife of almost 49 years, Marsha Knight Collier of Marietta. Bill and Marsha met on a blind date set up through friends at church and were married on June 17, 1972. Bill is also survived by his son Kent William Collier, daughter-in-law Crosby Fox, and grandsons Sullivan Kent Collier and Arlo Knight Collier, of Cumberland Foreside, ME; sister Virginia Collier Jones of Montgomery, AL; brother and sister-in-law Luther and Mary Jo Collier of Titus, AL; brother and sister-in-law Charles and Jeanette Collier of Titus, AL; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Larry and Beth Knight of Jekyll Island, GA; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family. He was preceded in death by his infant daughter, Jessica Louise, and by his parents, grandparents, and brother-in-law William E. Jones.
Bill’s body will be laid to rest at Cheatham Hill Memorial Park with a small, private family gathering. A public memorial and celebration of Bill’s life will take place later this year. In lieu of flowers (though he loved them), Bill requested memorial donations be made in his honor to the Music Ministry of First Baptist Church Marietta (www.mariettafbc.org) or Friends of Kennesaw Mountain National Battle Field Park (friendsofkmnbp.org).