Nathan Wilson Collum, a World War II veteran who for many years was the head of the Grounds Department for the East Hampton School District, died on July 10 in High Point, N.C. He was 96.
Mr. Collum was born in East Hampton on Dec. 18, 1915, to Charles (Cleve) Collum and the former Ruth Lester, of the Round Swamp Lesters. Some of his favorite childhood memories, his family said, involved spending time with Selah Lester, his uncle, and Nathan Washington Lester, his grandfather. Often he reminisced about hand-carving duck decoys and hunting in Northwest Woods and at Sammy’s Beach.
During World War II, Mr. Collum served in the European theater as a corporal in the Army Medical Corps. He participated in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and helped in the liberation of German concentration camps.
Returning to East Hampton after the war, he worked in landscaping. In 1949, he married Helene McAvoy. They spent 57 years together at their house on Soak Hides Road.
He was a “true Bonacker and lover of nature,” his family said. After retiring from the school district, he continued his appreciation of birds, woodworking, and all things baseball. He was a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees. In October 2007, he moved to High Point after having lived in East Hampton for more than 88 years.
Mr. Collum’s wife died in 2006, and his sister, Evelyn VanEck, died in 2007. He is survived by a son, Barry Nathan of High Point, two grandchildren, and eight nieces and nephews.
A funeral was held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in High Point on July 14. A service will be held in East Hampton at a date to be announced, and burial will be at Cedar Lawn Cemetery.
Memorial donations can be directed to Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301. Condolences can be sent to the Collum family at 5 Soak Hides Road, East Hampton 11937.