Eugene Franklin Collins was born November 5, 1966, in Oxford. His parents, Raymond and Martha Collins, owned and operated Collins Flower House.
Gene, as Eugene was called, had a sister named Sarah, who was five years younger. Raymond and Martha were dedicated parents and never missed any of their children's ball games or performances. The entire family enjoyed vacations that included camping, hiking, boating, and fishing.
Gene's parents taught their children to strive for excellence in every endeavor. Elementary school was a breeze for Gene, and later at Yoknapatawpha High, he continued to excel in academics. He was exceptionally good at sports, but he earned a well-deserved reputation as a hothead. On the field of play, he lost his temper quite often and was ejected from more than a few games.
During his senior year, he was accepted to several out-of-state colleges, but he opted to stay close by and attend the University of Mississippi. He graduated from high school with honors and was very excited about experiencing college life at Ole Miss.
The summer before he started college, Gene's parents died in a boating accident. Gene was devastated, but he knew he had to take care of his little sister. He decided to attend college only part-time so he could take over his parents' store. He didn't know much about how the floral business worked, but with determination and the help of a good friend of his late parents, he soon got the hang of it.
Gene managed the business well and watched over his sister until she went off to college at the University of Alabama. It took him longer than he ever thought it would, but he finally graduated from Ole Miss with a business degree in 1997.
Gene was always keenly interested in politics and saw the need for many changes in his hometown government. In 2013, he launched a campaign to become an alderman. He won the seat in 2014 and was reelected in 2018.
Whenever he can take a break from his work at the floral shop and his political responsibilities, Gene still loves to engage in the outdoor activities of his youth, including camping and fishing.