Deacon Edward “Ed” P. Collins
The journey of life for Edward “Ed” Pencil Collins began on September 1, 1930, in Vicksburg, MS. He was born to Adell and Lucille Robinson Collins. He accepted Christ at a young age and was fifteen when he was baptized at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church. Between ages of 18 and 19 he served as the Assistant Sunday School Superintendent.
Ed attended Jonestown Elementary School and was a 1947 graduate of Bowman High School. He excelled as an athlete in football and was a beast on the football field. He earned several athletic scholarships and decided to play for Tugaloo College and study physical education. After finishing Spring training, Jackson State University made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. He played running back for Jackson State for two years before he was drafted into the armed forces.
On October 19, 1951, he enlisted with the United States Marine Corps and attended basic training in San Diego, CA. His height and stature made him a great marine. He worked as a Military Police Officer, was a member of the boxing squad, and played the running back (number 31) for the military football league. After receiving an honorable discharge from the military, he moved to Los Angeles, CA, and worked for 35 years as a foreman with the City until his retirement. He also worked for Security Bank and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Ed united with Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Pomona, CA, under the leadership of Rev. Walter Cook, Jr. He served as an usher and on January 21, 1979, he was ordained as a deacon. He taught the women’s sunday school class and served as Chairman of the Deacon Board.
In 1987, while on vacation in Arkansas, he landed in Arkadelphia and thought the small town would make a nice place to live and enjoy retirement. He and his wife Betty settled in Arkadelphia. They united with Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in 1990, under the leadership of Rev. Ron Browning; who was like a son to him. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Deacon Board, Chairman of the Mission/Education Ministry and Chairman of the Personnel Committee. His wife Betty passed away in 1995, and Ed had to find his new normal.
His life soon blossomed as he gained employment with the Arkadelphia School District and made new friends and acquaintances. He visited California, where he met the beautiful Claria Epps and the rest is history. They were married on February 17, 1998. Claria brought so much joy and laughter to his life.
Ed loved to keep his lawn mowed and his cars shined up every Saturday. He enjoyed watching football and loved watching “shoot em’ ups”. Ed was full of jokes and always has a story about his past ready to tell. He didn’t meet a stranger and opened his doors to many people; some he made a part of his family. His favorite thing to do was spend time with his family.
Ed fought a valiant fight against cancer and managed to live a modest, resilient, and fulfilling life. Ed, was never a man who wanted to be the center of attention so on Saturday, September 7, 2019, he passed quietly in his sleep. His independent spirit, iron-will and strong character will never be duplicated, but he leaves an impression on the lives of those he touched and enriched along his life’s journey.
He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Adell Collins, Jr., Willie Collins, and Mary Ann Collins-Golden.
Though he is no longer with us in body, his irreplaceable presence will be deeply missed. Ed leaves to cherish his memories: his loving wife, Claria Collins; his children, Debra Collins-Thornton of Nashville, TN, LaJuan Collins of Arkadelphia, AR, Edward Daryell Collins of Bakersfield, CA, and Pam Collins of Memphis, TN; one sister, Catherine (Martin) Byrdsong of Compton, CA; his bonus children, Karla L. Steel of Arkadelphia, AR; Donna Grigsby of Arkadelphia, AR,Veronica Hardgrove, Lanelle King, Regina Hale, Dorsine Jones, Andrea Lock, Anthony Logan, Robert Askew, Judy Lewis and Derrick Logan; his grandchildren, Myesha (Anthony) Massie of Nashville, TN, Shaylene (Alvin) Hauer of San Antonio, TX, Khristopher Thornton of Palmdale, CA, Edward Adell (Naoko) Collins of San Diego, CA and Rae’Vyn L. Britt of Corona, CA; He also leaves Bryant and his son Joel Robinson whom he loved as his own son and grandson; his god-children, Dominique and Lillian Harper, their three children and Amanda Snowden and her daughter, as well as, several bonus grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter; his mother-in-law, Maggie (Willie) Josey of Compton, CA; sisters-in-law, Linda Butler and Lesia (James) Younger both of Compton, CA; brothers-in-law, Sherman (Pauletta) Fuller of Colorado, Springs, CO and Willie Josey, Jr., of Compton, CA; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, his best friend Deacon Raymond Green, many other friends and his Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church family.
A celebration of his life will be shared at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14, 2019, at Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church with Dr. Lewis A. Shepherd, Jr., eulogist. Public visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at Williams Funeral Home on Friday, September 13, 2019. The family will receive friends and share memories of Ed from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at Greater Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Interment will be at the Little Rock National Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Honorable to mention as pallbearers will be: Edward A. Collins, Khristopher Thornton, Anthony Massie, Jr., Alvin Hauer, Bryant Robinson, Deacon Raymond Green, Rev. A. S. Newburn, Rev. Roy Wesley, Jr., and Rev. Quantel Williams, the Deacon Ministry of Greater Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.