Paul Donald Rollins, 86, died at home surrounded by family on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 from congestive heart failure. Known to family and friends variously as Don, Dad, Papa and Papa Don, he leaves a legacy of love from a life that touched countless people.
Born in Charles County, Maryland on Nov. 19, 1932, to Paul and Etcel Rollins, Don grew up on the family tobacco farm, graduating from LaPlata High School, and later earning an Associate Degree from Edison College in New Jersey.
In 1945, at 12 years old, he met the love of his life, Shirley. They married in 1953 and shared 66 years of legendary love and friendship, creating a family of four children, Jeffry (Pam); Greg; Janet (Peter); and Kathleen (Michael); nine grandchildren, Scott (Serra); Ryan (Molly); Shannon (Marco); Allison; Leigh (Dan); Sam; Molly (Thomas); Bennett (Abby); and, four great-grandchildren, Ty; Colin; Juliet; Margot; and baby Cahall due in 2020.
He served his country proudly in the U.S. Air Force as a nuclear weapons specialist for the Strategic Air Command. Upon discharge, Don joined AT&T and was instrumental in installing telecommunications on the first Air Force One, rising to management during his 30-year career. After retiring, Don taught Electronics at Greenville Technical College in South Carolina.
Don never met a stranger and was renowned for his amazing hugs. He volunteered his time and talents with Habitat for Humanity, as a Salvation Army bell ringer, and as Santa for children of incarcerated parents. In later years Don discovered golf, one of his greatest pleasures. Don was deeply involved with every church he attended. For more than 15 years, he was a devoted member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church serving on committees, singing in the Chancel Choir and appearing in the annual youth musicals.
In addition to his wife and immediate family, Don is survived by his brother Roger (Linda); sister Dorothy; many nieces, nephews and cousins; honorary granddaughter Aubrey (Todd), her children Ava and Vince; and daughters, sons and grandsons through marriage, Colleen, Rod and Joseph.
He was pre-deceased by his parents; brother Jim and sister-in-law Anna; brother-in-law Jimmie; grandson Matthew; and daughter-in-law Sue. The family thanks Suzanne Boucher, Dr. Raymond Carter and Dr. Stephanie Gilibert for their devoted care.
A service celebrating his life will be held at 11:00 AM Saturday, August 3, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 2313 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware. Inurnment will be at Arlington National Cemetery.
Contributions may be made in Dons memory to Aldersgate United Methodist Church Chancel Choir or Habitat for Humanity, 1920 Hutton St., Wilm., DE 19802.