Albert Milford Collier, M.D., age 83, of Chapel Hill, died Tuesday, December 29, 2020 at home following a brief illness.
Dr. Collier was born in Elba, Alabama on May 3, 1937 to the late Milford W. Collier and Ida Ruth Lee Collier.
Dr. Collier attended the University of Miami as an undergraduate where he and his wife met as members of the marching band. He attended the University of Miami School of Medicine and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Upon completion of his residency, he served in the military at Maxwell Air Force base in Montgomery, Alabama. In 1968 he came to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine as a fellow in the Infectious Disease Division and subsequently joined the department where he rose to Professor and Division Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. During his tenure, he also served as Associate Director of UNC Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology, and as Director of the Medical Program and Interim Director at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center.
Dr. Collier also contributed to a variety of research initiatives in the UNC School of Medicine that included 140 publications and over two decades of leadership as an investigator in an NHI funded Pediatric Specialized Center of Research. Dr. Collier’s career at UNC was one of excellence in research, service, clinical activities, and education. His research activities at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology helped to advance knowledge on disease processes associated with a spectrum of viral respiratory pathogens and mycoplasma as well as characterizing the respiratory health effects of low-level exposure to air pollutants. He was honored with the Louis Dienes Award by the International Organization for Mycoplasmology in 1988. His research efforts also included publications on Environmental Protection Agency-funded studies of the respiratory health effects of low-level exposure to air pollutants.
Always an advocate for research, Dr. Collier worked to develop a core microscopy facility within the Department of Pediatrics and the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology, and effort which established a resource that has been widely accessed throughout the UNC School of Medicine and benefiting a generation of undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty researchers.
Dr. Collier participated on numerous hospital committees and spent many years as the Research Integrity Officer for the medical center. Dr. Collier’s bedside manner was greatly valued by many parents and patients. Many learners, medical students, residents, and peers benefited from his teaching at the bedside and in the many didactic presentations he delivered throughout the years. He was frequently consulted for his expertise on childhood immunizations and pediatric infectious diseases and has been honored by the Department of Pediatrics at its annual Thomas F. Boat Evening of Scholarship.
Although Dr. Collier was known by many for his academic accomplishments and career activities at UNC, in his personal life he was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and a valued friend to many. Throughout his life he was quite active in his church, participating in multiple church-related activities and volunteering his time and efforts for Gideons International. He loved Jesus! He dedicated his life to sharing the Good News of Jesus, his best friend, with others. To him, that was his greatest accomplishment.
Dr. Collier is survived by his wife, Mary Gay Wehler Collier of Chapel Hill, three sons; Albert Mark Collier of Chapel Hill, Dennis Murray Collier and wife Mayra of Chapel Hill, Jonathan Lee Collier and wife Suzanne of Chapel Hill, three grandchildren, and many colleagues and friends whose lives were made so much better by knowing him. He will be missed.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church with Pastor Barrett Freeman presiding.
In lieu of flowers the family asked for memorial contributions to be made in Dr. Collier’s memory to Gideons International, PO Box 140800, Nashville TN 37214 or online: Spread the Work.org and Gideons.org. Phone number: 615-564-5000.
Condolences may be made at www.donaldsonfunerals.com
Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory is honored to serve the Collier family.
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