Pelham mourns loss of church mission supporter

Published 5:26 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham lost a man dedicated to helping others and spreading his faith when 64-year-old Birmingham resident Butch Collum died Feb. 18, according to First Baptist Church of Pelham Pastor Mike Shaw.

Collum, who owned a few businesses in Pelham, including the Trio Electrical Contracting Company, was buried in the Center Hill Baptist Cemetery in Jemison on Feb. 21.

Over the past several years, Collum donated freely to several Pelham First Baptist missions, and had been involved in the church for more than 30 years.

“He was probably one of the most generous people I have ever met in my life,” Shaw said. “Around Christmas, we do one of our biggest offerings of the year. This year, we came up about $13,000 short.

“He came in last Thursday and wrote us a check for that difference,” Shaw added. “As far as I know, that was the last thing he did on Earth.”

Collum overcame an alcohol addiction when he was younger, and dedicated his life to his faith and helping those in need.

“I don’t think he would mind me telling you this. He had been addicted to alcohol early in his life,” Shaw said. “He told me if it hadn’t been for Jesus, his life would have been ruined.

“He wasn’t a perfect person. None of us are. But Jesus changed his life,” Shaw added. “One message that he would want me to tell you is that there is hope in Jesus Christ.”

Collum was a successful businessman, but was not hesitant to share his wealth with the church and those facing dire times.

Shaw said Collum once heard of a mission the church was conducting in Jemison, and loaned the mission a car in his name to haul food to hungry residents.

“He was working all the time, so he couldn’t always work with the missions,” Shaw said. “So he would always give money, or sometimes even a credit card, if people needed it for the mission.”

Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said Collum greatly helped the city through his businesses and work with the church.

“He’s just been a good community leader,” Murphy said. “I think he had three different businesses in Pelham, and he really helped the church a lot.”

Murphy and Shaw called Collum’s death a “huge loss” for Pelham and the entire Birmingham area.

“As much as he meant to me, it’s a greater loss for his family,” said Shaw, who was close friends with Collum for more than 30 years. “My deepest sympathies are with all of his family.”

Though Collum is gone, Shaw said he finds comfort knowing he will see his friend again one day.

“The comfort I have today is that I will see him again. He knew where he was going. He ensured he was going to heaven a long time ago,” Shaw said. “I know and his family knows that we will see him again.”