PALM BAY, Florida – Eugene J. Collins Sr, 88, of Palm Bay, passed away peacefully Tuesday evening, January 16, 2018 and was reunited in heaven with his beloved, the love of his life and wife of 35 years, Lillian.
Eugene was born in New York in 1929, where he met and married Lillian Kapsch (Collins) in 1951. Shortly after their marriage, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army and fought in the Korean War. Returning to the United States as a decorated war hero, he decided to work in law enforcement.
Soon after his return, his wife gave birth to their only son Eugene J. Collins, Jr. During his time in New York, Eugene and his wife opened and successfully ran two hardware stores on Long Island. They enjoyed their life there and they became local celebrities.
Eugene and his beloved wife were active in the Lions Club, the local Rotary and Republican Party politics. It was here that he was elected and served honorably as a New York State Committeeman. Eugene was also the founder and Commander of the John A. Collins Sr. VFW post.
Eugene, his wife and his son, moved to the Miami area in 1965. It was here where they jointly opened and operated Collins Marking Equipment Company in Miami Springs for over 20 years. He retired from the business after the death of his wife in 1986. In 1989, and he and his son’s family moved north and settled in Palm Bay, FL.
Eugene was preceded in death by his parents, John A. and Nellie Collins Sr., as well as his older siblings, John A. Collins Jr, Ethel Scheuerer (Collins), and Helen Becker (Collins).
He is survived by his son Gene Collins (Linda); grandchildren Katherine Smith (Lucas), Christin Brennan (Kevin)and Michael Collins; great-grandchildren Lillian Smith, Hudson Smith, Declan Brennan and Liam Brennan as well as his many nieces and nephews. His family will all fondly remember him always as “Eugene the Great!”
Calling hours will be Thursday, January 25th, 5:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a memorial beginning at 6:30 at Ammen Family Cremation & Funeral Care, 950 Malabar Rd., SE, Palm Bay, 724-2224. Funeral Mass will follow on Friday the 26th at 9:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1422 Miller St., NE, Palm Bay.
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