"Can you imagine the disaster this is going to be to the city of Oklahoma City?" asked Collins, who was a Kerr-McGee pilot for about 30 years. "Do you realize all the support this company has given over the years? That is going to be the shortfall to this community."
However, Collins said he did not hesitate in casting his votes in favor of the sale.
"When they give you a 40 percent premium over your stock, that doesn't make it difficult at all," he said. "To me, it's show me the money. I've been retired for 12 years. We're never sure about the future, but when you get a bonus like this, you can't turn it down."
Under terms of the purchase deal, Kerr-McGee shareholders will receive $70.50 in cash per share, about 40 percent more than the closing share price of $50.30 the night before the purchase plan was announced.
Collins' son, Kris, plans to use the proceeds from the sale of his share of the stock to pay for his expenses as a student at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center.
"It's helping me out quite a bit," he said. "It's unfortunate the company is leaving. It was a big part of my life when I was younger because I flew all over the country with my dad. They were good to him."
Kerr-McGee's absence likely will be most felt with the loss of its historic support of the community and its projects, said Roy Williams, president of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.
"The jobs are certainly extremely important to the individuals who hold them, but fortunately a lot of those employees have talents that other companies here will want to have," he said. "I think most of them will have good opportunities. But it's Kerr-McGee's legend in the community, their visibility and their participation in everything from the United Way to community leadership, that will be most missed."
Williams said Oklahoma City's remaining companies will fill the void.
"It hurts, but it's not fatal," he said. "You have to find those other businesses and other corporations that are willing to fill those kinds of voids when they get created. This is a community where that has a history of happening. There continually seems to be new companies that step up to take the place and are willing to help move this community forward."