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Charles Francis Collins

September 5, 1947 — March 28, 2024

Charles Francis Collins

Charles Francis “Chatt” Collins
September 5, 1947 – March 28, 2024

Just before sunset on Thursday, March 28th, Charles Francis Collins, a beloved father, husband, brother, and friend, passed away peacefully surrounded by family at Sanctuary Hospice in Tupelo after battling pancreatic cancer for a year. Born to Dr. Cecil Curtis Collins, Jr. and Marjorie Winston Collins on September 5th, 1947, Charles, affectionately known as “Charlie” and “Chatt,” spent his childhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated high school at Howey Academy in Florida in 1966. He is fondly remembered from his youth as being adventurous, wise beyond his years, a good friend, and an avid athlete, excelling at track and field, football, and crew.

Chatt began his college education at Western Kentucky University, but he dropped out, as he lacked confidence and didn’t know what career to pursue. In his early college days, Chatt met and shook the hand of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at an airport and spoke fondly of their conversation throughout the rest of his life. During his years off from college, he worked on the railroad and in construction back home in Florida before eventually returning to college.

After receiving two A. A. degrees from Florida junior colleges, Chatt enrolled at the University of Georgia, double majoring in Agronomy and Animal Science. Having struggled with dyslexia all his life, he made the brave, groundbreaking decision to seek accommodations for his disability. Once allowed to take his exams orally, Chatt excelled and finished his Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in 1974, a testament to his tenacity and character. During this time, he worked as a zookeeper at the Athens Zoo and had many fond memories of the animals he cared for there.

He began his professional career as an agricultural chemical salesman. He worked two-year stints at Union Carbide, DuPont, and finally Merck, where he won the U.S. Ag-Chem Salesman of the Year award two years in a row.

In 1980, Chatt decided to pursue his lifelong dream of starting his own apple farm. The mountain on which he planted his sapling trees in Francis Cove, North Carolina, had been in Chatt’s family for 150 years at this time. For nearly 15 years, he operated Collins Orchard, Inc. and grew 20+ varieties of apples as well as peaches and cherries, and his produce won numerous county and state fairs. He always looked back on this experience – and this family farmland in the Blue Ridge mountains – as a particularly meaningful part of his life journey. Other places that were vitally important to him include Jacksonville Beach, FL, St. Augustine, FL, and his dream home on the marina in Aberdeen, MS.

Following his time as an apple farmer, Chatt moved to Mississippi, where he first worked in agricultural research for a branch of Mississippi State University followed by working in sales.

In his retirement, Chatt was an avid reader, history and science buff, gun collector, and bird watcher. He loved traveling with his wife, daughter, and son-in-law, tending to plants in his yard, feeding and watching hummingbirds, and caring for his many beloved pets and grandpets over the years. He also enjoyed keeping in close contact with lifelong friends, Wayne Zaycek and Dr. Rhody Elofson.

He is remembered by all as a patient, kind, insightful, and passionate man who loved a good conversation and valued learning and education. He is remembered warmly by his daughter as a doting, loving, and supportive father, who always encouraged her to follow her instincts and her dreams. His wife remembers him as her best friend.

A lifelong Episcopalian, he attended St. Paul’s in Jacksonsville, FL, in his youth, and he kept this faith throughout his life, though he also enjoyed attending North Boulevard Christian Church in Amory and was a member there.

He’s survived by his wife of 46 years, Kathy (Palmer) Collins of Amory; daughter, Christie Collins, and son-in-law, Martyn White of Starkville; sister, Jan Marino (Peter) of Jacksonville, Florida, his sisters-in-law, Jeannie Spiers and Linda Stanford of Amory; and many cousins and nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Cecil Curtis Collins, Jr. and Marjorie Winston Collins; his brother, Cecil Curtis (Bud) Collins III, and his close friend, Mark Craige.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024, at 2:00 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, in Aberdeen, MS, with Rev. Mary Howard King officiating. A burial service will follow at the Amory Masonic Cemetery.

Visitation for family and friends will be held at E. E. Pickle Funeral Home in Amory on Tuesday, April 2nd from 5:00-8:00 pm.

Memorials can be made to the Amory Humane Society, the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, North Boulevard Christian Church in Amory, MS, and/or St. John’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen, MS.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles Francis Collins, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

E. E. Pickle Funeral Home, Amory

500 3rd Avenue South, Amory, MS 38821

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Celebration of Life Service

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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