Panthia Helen Buie “Peggy” Collier of Fayetteville went peacefully to Heaven on April 24 surrounded by family at her home. Her life is a story of incredible achievement, against all odds, as a wife, mother/grandmother/great-grandmother, teacher, businesswoman, friend to many and loyal servant of her Lord.
Peggy was born September 10, 1938, the youngest of the 12 children of Robert Livingston and Carrie Rebecca Buie. She was raised in rural northern Cumberland County. She attended and graduated from Linden High School in 1956, where she was a member of the Beta Club, a writer for the yearbook, and Head cheerleader for her last two years.
She attended East Carolina College but, unable to afford further study, returned home to Cumberland County in 1957. There she reunited with her beloved Sherrill Allen Collier, who was home on Christmas leave from his duties with the Air Force where he had served in the Korean war. Determined not to let her get away again, Sherrill asked Peggy to marry him and return with him to California where he was stationed. Peggy agreed, and they were married in the home of Sherrill’s sister. They drove to California in a used car they purchased, where he completed his service to our Country, and began an amazing 63 years together as devoted, loving, and loyal husband and wife.
Peggy bore and raised four children with Sherrill. She was the engine in the marriage, embodying the best of the parable of the talents. Evidence of her faithfulness, determination, belief, and absolute love are their four children and progeny who remain as living tributes and expressions of their faithfulness to God, each other and their family. Clay Allen of Wilmington and grandchildren Blake Allen, Chamberlain and Payton; Mark Steven and wife Margaret of Fayetteville and grandchildren Travis (wife Leslie and great-grandchildren Callie and Landon) Rachel (husband Patrick Gilbert and great-grandchildren Ella June and Henry), Graham and Miriam; Pamela Cheryl and husband John Tuohey of Linden and grandchildren Ashley (husband John Jeffrey Robertson and great-grandchildren Charlie and J.J.), Shannon and Joe (great-grandchildren Luke and Blake), Caroline Elliot, Sarah (husband Eric Lester and great-grandchildren Aubrey, Everley and Daisy) Jay Elliot and Savannah (husband Joshua Atkinson); and Keith Eric and wife Jennifer of Linden and grandchildren Davis and Mallory are the living product of the direction, discipline, drive and most of all steadfast and unconditional love of Peggy and Sherrill. Peggy’s lifelong dedication to hard work, determination, loyalty to God friends and family, service to neighbors and love is borne out in the grandchildren, great-grandchildren and others that remember her lovingly as their “Ma”.
When her youngest son Keith grew to preschool age, Peggy returned to complete her studies, graduating from Methodist College in 1974. She then began a 21-year career with the Cumberland County School System, where she was an accomplished, respected and beloved teacher to hundreds of elementary students who blessed and honored her with their achievements and remember her affectionately as Mrs. Collier.
Upon retirement from her career as a teacher, Peggy assumed the duties as office manager for the Collier Insurance Agency on Ramsey Street for a number of years. She thereafter retired with Sherrill and they lived together in the home they built together off Andrews Road almost 50 years ago.
Peggy is predeceased by her beloved brothers, Leslie (who coined the name Peggy), Robert, Carl, James (Jim) and Donald (Don) Buie; sisters Myra, Rachel, Joyce, Mary Belle, Barbara (Bobbie) and Gussie. Her cherished nephew James (Jimmy) Buie, Jr. also preceded her in death.
Along with the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Peggy leaves her husband Sherrill and niece Lucille Manchin Cook, eight months younger and considered as another sister, with precious memories and many grand stories of her adventures and achievements.
Family and friends will gather on Thursday, April 29 at the Cedar Falls Baptist Church to remember and celebrate the extraordinary life and legacy of Peggy Collier. The family will receive visitors from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. The Reverend Floyd Benfield, family pastor and friend, will lead a service of celebration and remembrance beginning at 11:00 a.m. The family will thereafter lay their beloved to rest at Lafayette Cemetery in a private ceremony.
Peggy demanded to live her life by giving more than she received, but the family cannot avoid owing Tarq Nazir, M.D., Jorge Franco, M.D., Belinda and Cindy at HSRH, Reverend Benfield, Cedar Falls Baptist, Rogers & Breece Funeral Home and many neighbors, friends and family for their invaluable support and assistance in memorializing the life of such an extraordinary lady.
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