David C. Collins (‘Dr. Collins’) passed peacefully in Los Angeles on December 31, 2021, with his wife Mary and companion dog Rex at his side.
David was born in Kansas City, Missouri on December 9th, 1940. The family moved frequently in the Southeast, finally settling in Maryland, where David attended Baltimore Polytechnic HS. He went on to Stanford University on a full-ride scholarship where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and was an enthusiastic member of his beloved ATO fraternity. David earned his Ph.D. in computers and control theory at USC in 1969.
In 1974 David founded (in his garage!) and was CEO of Learning Tree International (fka Integrated Computer Systems), an international company that has provided technical and management training to over 2 million IT professionals across the globe for over 40 years.
After retiring as CEO, he created Adventures in Learning – a free field trip school program at Learning Tree Farms in Delaplane, Virginia. The program served over 43,000 elementary and middle school students over a 5-year period, providing experiential learning in nature until it closed in 2007.
If you knew David, it goes without saying he was a force to be reckoned with. Driven, passionate and pugnacious, David always enjoyed a good challenge (always fight the good fight) and pursued his goals and projects with tenacity and exuberance. ‘NEVER GIVE UP!’ was one of his many mottos. David held himself by high ethical standards, aspiring always to honesty, integrity and ‘Truth’ in his many endeavors and relationships.
From a young age, David believed deeply in the paramount importance of empowering people through education, a passion that became his guiding purpose in his life. David was generous with his time and resources, and always sought to remove barriers so others could be free to excel. He supported many schools, in particular with upgrading their technology, and was also an attentive mentor and sponsor to many high school students.
David cultivated a life-long love of learning, especially in the fields of technology, math, history, and health. He appreciated the value of books and would often carry around copies of his latest favorites to share with friends and colleagues.
Along with Truth, David cherished Beauty in all its forms. David had a deep love for the healing and restorative powers of the natural world. He loved to travel the rolling green hills he stewarded in Fauquier County, Virginia - or ‘God’s Country’ as he referred to it. A favorite hobby was jumping in his old Jeep and taking photos of the Farm’s natural beauty - culminating in the annual Learning Tree Farms Calendar that he and Mary created together. He also loved to make heartfelt slideshows, which he would share at the biannual family Christmas party with glee.
David had a zeal for American heritage - especially the founding ideals of individual liberty and equal treatment before the law. He was especially dedicated to promoting the legacy of founding Chief Justice John Marshall, including the preservation of his boyhood home ‘The Hollow’ in Markham, Virginia.
David is preceded by his Mother Alma Collins (née Moore), Father Warner Collins, Jr., and brother Warner Collins III. David is survived by Mary, his wife and partner of 38 years, his son Christopher and best friend Rex. And so many, many good friends.
In accordance with David’s wishes he will be buried in a private ceremony on the family farm in the blossoming of Spring 2022.
In lieu of flowers, please help a child in need.
If you would like to contribute to the remembrance of this special man, please share your stories and photos by emailing to: RememberingDavid@LearningTreeFarms.com