Mr. Eugene "Gene" Collins, age 80, of Blairsville, Georgia, was called home to be with our Heavenly Father on Friday, December 5, 2008, following a courageous 3 1/2 year battle with cancer and heart failure.
He was born Tuesday, July 17, 1928 to James Vess Collins and Nellie Gillespie Collins in the Choestoe district of Union County. At about age 4 he moved to the Arkaquah district, where he remained until his passing. His roots ran deep in his beloved North Georgia mountains, being the great-great grandson of 2 of Union County's original settlers, Thompson & Celia Collins. He was extremely proud of his heritage and passed along to his children and grandchildren the strength and character of his forefathers. He taught them that God, family and hard work was the most important things in life. He was self-employed for approximately 25 years in the timber industry, logging the forests of North Georgia and Western North Carolina and operating a sawmill. He worked for many years in the construction industry and truck-farmed produce. Two of his greatest passions were his vegetable garden and his blackberry vines, where he spent endless hours every summer. With a heart to serve others, he was active in the political arena, serving one term as Union County's Ordinary and Probate Judge. He was an ordained deacon, serving Old Liberty Baptist Church faithfully for 53 years, and was a former member of the Lions Club.
Mr. Collins was preceded in death by parents: James Vess Collins and Nellie Gillespie Collins; brothers: Lawrence, Hugh, Henry Ford and Guy Collins; Sisters: Lillian Woods and Helen Brown.
He is survived by his loving wife of almost 60 years, Ellen Brown Collins; Children: Jeanette and Herman King of Toccoa, Georgia; Karen Collins, Gainesville, Georgia; Calvin & Patricia Collins, Blairsville; Grandchildren: Monica and Rob Mauldin, Lori & Bryan Westmoreland, Derrick & Meghan King, all of Toccoa, Georgia; Corey and Codey Collins of Blairsville; Great grandchildren: Hampton Mauldin, Bre King, Sadie Westmoreland, all of Toccoa; 54 nieces and nephews, along with numerous other relatives.
Funeral services will be held Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. from the Old Liberty Baptist Church with Rev. Jimmy Rogers, Rev. Jerry Young, and Rev. Dwayne Patterson officiating. Music will be provided by Doug Green and Steve Brown. Interment will follow in Old Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers are the following gentlemen: Rob Mauldin, Derrick King, Corey Collins, Codey Collins, Doug Collins, and Doug Green. Honorary pallbearers include: Deacons of Old Liberty Baptist Church.
The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Saturday, December 6th, 2008: 2 -4 pm and 6 - 8 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be made to Regency Hospice, P.O. Box 494, Hiawassee, GA 30546; or Union County Food Bank, c/o Shawn Howell, 185 Wellborn St., Box 8, Blairsville, GA 30512.
Arrangements entrusted to Cochran Funeral Home - Blairsville Chapel. Friends and family are invited to send condolences, view Mr. Collins's Life Tribute, and sign the guest register at www.cochranfuneralhomes.com.