Russell Collins

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Daily Press
May 25, 1993


Retired attorney Russell A. “Rip” Collins, 86, who was state Golden Gloves champion in the late 1920s, died Sunday, May 23.

Mr. Collins, who earned the nickname “Rip” while playing football at Newport News High School at 105 pounds, first began fighting while a newsboy in downtown Newport News. He literally fought to get his papers on the street before his rivals. His street fights eventually led to the boxing ring, where he became a Golden Gloves champion in Virginia and Maryland and a runnerup for the U.S. crown.

Mr. Collins was quoted in a 1984 Daily Press story as saying he didn’t know why he got into fighting and if his son wanted to become a boxer he would not allow it. “I wouldn’t be upset if they did away with the sport altogether,” he said.

Once he hung up his gloves, Mr. Collins went to the College of William and Mary and its Marshall Wythe School of Law. He had a law practice in Newport News for 50 years, retiring in 1990.

The lifelong Peninsula resident also retired in 1960 as a commander after 30 years in the Navy and Navy Reserve, including service in World War II. Mr. Collins resumed his law practice once the war ended.

He was a member of Calvary Baptist Church, where he was a member of the Chandler Sunday School Class.

Mr. Collins was a member of Bremond Masonic Lodge 241 and a charter member of the Young Democratic Club.

He was president, secretary and treasurer of the Newport News Bar Association and was a member of the Pioneer Club of Newport News.

He is survived by a daughter, Neta C. Hastings of Richmond; a son, Russell E. Collins of Chesterfield; and four grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 6:30 to 8:30 tonight at Peninsula Funeral Home. A funeral will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at Calvary Baptist Church by the Rev. Sam W. Tatem. Burial will be in Greenlawn Cemetery with Masonic rites.

Memorial donations may be made to the Marshall Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg 23187-8795.

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