Thomas Loudon Collins, a lifelong resident of East Hampton who was credited with helping to decode 143 Nazi messages during World War II, died of a heart attack on May 18 at home on Springs-Fireplace Road in Springs. He was 89 years old.
Representative Tim Bishop commended Mr. Collins’s wartime service on the floor of the House of Representatives last May, noting that he had received a medal and certificate of recognition from the British government for his service as a cryptologist.
Mr. Collins, who was trained as a cryptologist by the Army, was chosen to escort the Allies’ most advanced code-breaking machine, the Dragon, to the cryptography center at Bletchley Park in England. He subsequently was credited with designing the machine’s successor, which is said to have hastened the defeat of the Third Reich.
“So secret was his work, his invaluable contributions were not recognized and made public until the 1990s,” Mr. Bishop said. His remarks were entered into the Congressional Record.
After the war, Mr. Collins went to work for the Western Electric Company, retaining the position for almost 44 years. He also worked as a supervisor for Trees Inc. from 1983 to 1990.
Mr. Collins was born on June 28, 1921, to Frank deMar Collins and the former Nina Hulse. He grew up here and graduated from East Hampton High School. He was married to Anne E. Miller, who survives. The couple had three sons, Capt. Thomas L. Collins II, Michael deMar Collins, and Stephen T. Collins, all of whom survive. He also is survived by six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
In his spare time, Mr. Collins enjoyed hunting and fishing and barbershop singing. He was a member of the V.F.W., which honored him with a salute last Thursday, the Cryptographic Society, and the Springs Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Tony Larson and the Rev. George Wilson officiated at a funeral service at the church on Saturday. Burial followed at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton.
The family has suggested memorial contributions to the Springs Presbyterian Church or the Springs Fire Department Ambulance Company.