Major Gene A. Collins – November 24, 2011

Major Gene A. Collins, 90, of Amarillo, died Nov. 24, 2011.
Services will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 at St. Stephen United Methodist Church, 4600 S. Western in Amarillo.  Dr. Jim Smith and Dr. Stan Cosby will officiate.  Burial will be in Memory Gardens Cemetery at McCormick and I-27.  Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Our quiet, sweet and gentle father put in the last piece of his puzzle of life on Thanksgiving morning.  He served God, his Country, and his family.
Mr. Collins was born Sept. 8, 1921 in Groom to Gaston and Dollie Kate Collins.  He served in the Air Force during World War II.  He flew 50 combat missions in Tunisia, Sicily, Naples and Foggia flying P-39’s, P47’s, P38’s and P63’s.  He also served as an instructor pilot.  He received the Purple Heart for wounds received during service.  He served as Adjutant General of the Purple Heart Association.  He also served as a volunteer for the Veterans Hospital for many years.
He married Maxine Byars, also from Groom on March 27, 1944.  They moved to Masterson in January 1954. He was employed and retired from Colorado Interstate Gas after 35 years of service.  He served on the Bivins Federal Credit Union Board and the Bivins School Board.  They moved to Amarillo in 1967 and became members of St. Stephen United Methodist Church.  There he was a member of the St. Stephen Stars Choir, Stephens Ministries, Prison Ministries and attended and was active in Emmaus.  He was known as the “Cross Man” from the thousands of wooden cross necklaces he made and gave as agape to those who attended Emmaus, to missionaries overseas, and the youth in choir.  He also served on the Board of Directors for the church.
Pallbearers will be his sons-in-law, John Grigsby and Howard Clark, and nephews, Johnny Smith, Wayne Smith, Russ Lewellen, Don Babcock and Ronnie Babcock.
He was preceded in death by his grandson, Dillon Luttrell.
Survivors in his wife, Maxine Collins; his three daughters who completely adored him, Kathryn Bagwell Clark and husband, Howard Clark, Deborah Grigsby and husband, John Grigsby, of Joshua, and Pam Rushing.  Eight grandchildren, Kira Aduddell, Tina Fortner, Lisa Jones, John Burgan, Amber Ivy, and Zachary Grigsby, Miranda Rushing and Alex Rushing.  Ten great-grandchildren, December Luttrell, John Marq, Gracie and Bella Fortner, Hudson Jones, Addison, Avery and Kelan Ivy, Zoe and Collin Grigsby.  One great-great-grandson, Drake Jackson.
The family will be at the home of Kathy Bagwell Clark at 1401 Girl Scout Rd. in Amarillo.
Visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to St. Stephen United Methodist Church Youth Programs, 4600 S. Western, Amarillo, TX 79109.

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