Eugene "Gene" Clovis Collins

September 5, 1932 ~ October 30, 2021 (age 89)


Funeral services for Gene Collins, 89, of Portales, will be held at 10:00 AM, Thurs., Nov. 4, 2021 at the Emmanuel Baptist Church with Rev. Josh Faucett officiating assisted by Wade Fraze.  Burial will follow in the Portales Cemetery with Denver Collins, Sammy Hightower, Zach Shank, Joel Owen, Braden Fraze and Garret Hancock serving as pallbearers.  All of his many, many friends will be honorary pallbearers.

Gene as he preferred to be called, was born September 5, 1932 in Vaughn, New Mexico, and died on the evening of October 30, 2021 in Portales.  His Parents, Earl Wilburn Collins and Katie Jane Yocum, homesteaded in 1929 in Vaughn, New Mexico on 160 acres, 4 1/2 miles south of Vaughn, on the Roswell highway. 

In 1930, his uncle, Charlie Yocum and older brother, Fred Collins, left Ranger, Texas, in a covered wagon loaded with clothes and other belongings.  It took approximately 12 weeks to move the horses from Ranger, Texas to Vaughn, New Mexico, some 500 miles.  They built a barn and a box house that year.

In 1936, the family moved from Vaughn, New Mexico to about 3 miles west of Floyd, New Mexico, on a farm.

At Floyd, they lived in a large one-room box type house with dirt floors.  The family burned cow chips and mesquite wood in their wood cook stove, it was also used for heating.  The joke going around during those times was the windmill pumped the water and the cows cut the wood. They didn’t have electricity or running water in the house.

In 1942, the family moved to Ft Sumner Valley, on 40 acres of land.  The land had 1300 apple trees. His dad received 1/3 of the apple crop.  The money that he got from the apple crop, paid for the land the first year.

In 1947, they moved to T or C, New Mexico. Gene was a team captain on the “Hot Springs” football team where he played offensive center. In those days the helmets were not as sophisticated as they are now and had no face mask, and so during football season, he always had a scab the full length of his nose.  His senior year he was also homecoming king. In the pictures that the family has of that event he has a big black eye where he had gotten into a fight with his best friend.

On May 2, 1953, Gene married his high school sweetheart, Lorene Mathies, in T or C.  They were married 68 years. 

Gene and Lorene Collins with two small sons moved to Portales, N.M. on August 17, 1956, from Austin Texas, after serving four years in the Air Force.  Gene is a Korean War Veteran.  They later had four additional children that were born in Roosevelt County.

Gene went to work for his brother Fred, building houses and hauling lumber.  In 1962, Gene got his General Contractors license.  He built approximately 20 homes in the Portales and Roosevelt County area.

In 1965, Gene built their current home 3 ½ miles east of Portales, New Mexico.

In 1968, Gene went into commercial construction.  During the years to follow, Gene had a major role in the following projects in the Portales area:

In 1972, he was the construction superintendent on the Guy Luscombe Gymnasium in Dora, N.M.

In 1972, Gene was the construction superintendent, constructing the Portales City Olympic size swimming pool.

In 1977 He was awarded a Patent for a Direct Reading Survey Rod which he had invented.

In 1978, he was the construction superintendent, remodeling the Science Building at E.N.M.U.

Gene was the construction superintendent, remodeling the old E.N.M.U. theater and converting it to the computer center on the E.N.M.U campus.

Gene and 2 of his sons, Steve and David, added the Reynolds Room to the E.N.M.U. Golden Library, during the 1980’s.

In 2001-2002, Gene was construction superintendent, building the first phase of the new Portales Jr. High School.

Gene also volunteered on several projects for Portales and Roosevelt County, after he retired.

In 1996, Gene built the concrete supports for the F-111 Air Plane displayed near E.N.M.U.

In 1999, Gene built the pedestal for the statue of Governor, W.E. Lindsey, which is located on the Roosevelt County Court House lawn.

Gene also served as a building inspector for the new Roosevelt General Hospital and again later as a building inspector for the Medical office addition (which is currently the Roosevelt County Clinic).

For several years he volunteered to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity

Gene has received several awards for his work within the community:

In September 1996, Gene was named volunteer of the month.

In 1999, Gene shared the “Workhorse of the Year Award” with sculptor, Barry Lambirth, for their work on The Governor Lindsey’s statue.

In July 1999, Gene was once again named volunteer of the month.

In June of 2012, Gene and son, Steve of Portales were chosen, by the National Homestead Committee, to represent New Mexico at the 150th Anniversary of the National Homestead Act in Beatrice, Nebraska. There were 87,312 homesteads filed in New Mexico or 25% of the land in the state of New Mexico.

Gene, Lorene and family joined Emmanuel Baptist Church in Portales in 1965, where he was still a member.  

He is survived by his wife, Delia Lorene Collins and six children: Stephen E. Collins (Janet) of Portales, NM, David N. Collins (Becky) of Amarillo, Tx, Glenda L. Collins of Sparta,Tn, Janice E. Tiner (Ronnie) of Portales, NM, Larry N. Collins (Shirley) of Albuquerque, NM, and Donald S. Collins (Laurie) of Portales, NM, a brother, Pete C. Collins, and a sister, Jerry L. Ramsey. He is also survived by 23 grandchildren, in addition to numerous great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.

Gene was one of ten children.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Lewis W. Collins, Jesse W. Collins, Frederick D. Collins, and Odell Collins; sisters, Lois A. Watson, Johnnie L. Cooper, and Helen Rogers, in addition to a grandson Brandon Clay Hightower.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Eugene "Gene", please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
November 4, 2021

10:00 AM
Emmanuel Baptist Church (Portales)

Video is available for this event

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