Sherrill Allen Collier, Fayetteville—Sherrill Allen Collier of Fayetteville went peacefully to Heaven on June 15 surrounded by family at his home. His life is a story of extraordinary accomplishment, as a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, businessman, serviceman, friend to many, and loyal servant of the Lord.
Sherrill was born June 29, 1936, the son of Clayton Horace and Sally Payton Collier. The fourth of six children, he was raised on the family farm in the Linden community in rural northern Cumberland County.
Sherrill attended Linden High School where he was a bus driver, president of the Future Farmers of America and played on the basketball and baseball teams. Sherrill excelled in baseball, leading the County in batting average his last two seasons and earning a place in the Pine Forest Athletic Hall of Fame. But his greatest achievement at LHS was the discovery of the Love of his life.
On the first day of his sophomore year, Sherrill set his sights on the most bright and beautiful girl in the freshman class, Panthia Helen “Peggy” Buie. They dated throughout high school.
Upon graduation, Sherrill enlisted in the Air Force. He was deployed to Korea where he served with honor and distinction. He returned stateside and took leave to return home for Christmas in 1957 where he reunited with his beloved Peggy. Determined not to let her get away again, Sherrill proposed almost immediately. Peggy accepted and the two married in the Linden home of Sherrill’s sister. Their “honeymoon” was a cross country road trip to California where Sherrill reported back to active duty at Norton Air Force Base. There they began an incredible 63 years together as loving, devoted, and loyal husband and wife.
Together, Sherrill and Peggy had four children who endeavor to embody their faithfulness, love, determination, and selflessness. 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 Sherrill and Peggy. Sherrill’s incredible 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 him lovingly as their “Papa.”
After finishing active duty service with the Air Force, Sherrill returned to Cumberland County and began a long and successful career in the insurance industry. He was a successful sales agent and manager for State Capital Life Insurance Company in Fayetteville, Hickory, Charlotte and Greenville, S.C. From 1971 until 2001 he managed the Fayetteville office of Acacia Mutual Life Insurance (now Ameritas), building a staff of almost 20 and being recognized as the top producing agency in the nation for several years in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
In 2001 Sherrill founded the Collier Insurance Agency on Ramsey Street with his youngest son Keith. There he expanded his service to others as an independent agency providing multi-line insurance protection to friends and clients in the community. Sherrill eventually passed the business down to Keith, who honors Sherrill and the Collier family’s mission of service to others through its operation and maintenance today. Sherrill retired with Peggy and they lived together in the home they built together off Andrews Road almost 50 years ago.
Sherrill actively and enthusiastically served his Lord and community. He coached baseball in the Tokay Little League and boys’ basketball in the local Baptist league, and was a member of local Jaycees and other service organizations. He and Peggy joined Cedar Falls Baptist in early 70’s where they remained members for the rest of their lives. Sherrill served as Deacon for many years and was honored as Deacon Emeritus in April of 2018. He achieved the distinction of 32d degree Mason of the Scottish Rite in 1974 before retiring from the Lodge in 2001.
Sherrill is predeceased by his beloved siblings, brother Clayton Horace Collier II, Sister Dixie Collier Coats and brother Dewey Eric Collier. He joins his precious Peggy in Heaven, who went ahead on April 24. Along with the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Sherrill leaves his loving sisters Brenda Faye Harris of Jacksonville, Fla. and Kitty Lou Hicks of Matthews with precious memories and many grand stories of his wild adventures and achievements.
Family and friends will gather on Tuesday, June 22 at the Cedar Falls Baptist Church to remember and celebrate the extraordinary life and legacy of Sherrill Collier. The family will receive visitors from 10:00-11:15 a.m. The Reverend Floyd Benfield, family pastor and devoted friend, will lead a service of celebration and remembrance beginning at 11:30 a.m. The family will thereafter lay their beloved to rest beside Peggy in a private ceremony at Lafayette Cemetery.
Sherrill strived in his life to be a good neighbor that cared for others, but the family cannot avoid owing loving caretaker Mary Johnson, Reverend Benfield, Cedar Falls Baptist, Rogers & Breece Funeral Home and many neighbors, friends and family for their invaluable support and assistance in recognizing, remembering and memorializing the life of such an extraordinary husband, father, grandfather, and humble servant.
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