In Loving Memory of Bruce B. Collins
May 1, 1963 - January 24, 2019
Pastor Bruce Bernard Collins was born on May 1, 1963, in Los Angeles, California to the union of John Henry Theodore and Idella Marie Collins (Deacon and Evangelist Collins). At the time of his birth, he was the youngest of four children (Keith, Janice, Anthony), and remained the "baby boy" of the family, even after the birth ten years later of his younger sister Seneca, whom he referred to as his birthday present since they were both born on the same day.
Young Bruce was a peculiar child and spent many hours to himself praying to God for his parents and siblings. Those fervent prayers came true, and in 1978, the Collins family accepted Christ at the Church of the Living God - Inglewood. At that time, Bruce was a student and football athlete at Chatsworth High School in the Valley, where he met Cheryl Royster, whom he married many years later. Although content to be in church, Bruce wanted the church filled with youth, and again his prayers were answered. With that blessing came another responsibility when he was appointed as the Choir Director. He also had a great singing voice, and as a Choir Director of almost 50 voices, the Holy Spirit led Bruce to direct the choir in his gift with animated moves, such as skipping rope like a boxer practicing for a fight or with rapid hand moves to mimic a bird flying away. His love of all music, including oldies and R&B, inspired him to rewrite the lyrics to a well known 70's song by Brick - a tune that the choir marched to as a way of making visitors comfortable with praise and worship.
Whether casual or dressed to impress, Bruce was a bold dresser who was not afraid to push the fashion envelope with his unique style. He loved brightly colored suits with matching shoes and accessories. One year for a fashion show, he dressed his then five-year-old nephew, Antwon as a mini version of him. By 1996, Bruce and three other members became ordained ministers, and again, Bruce poured his love for music into his sermons to impart wisdom to the congregation.
A beacon of joy, love, and laughter for anyone who came into his presence, Bruce could imitate any voice, and he had nicknames for almost anyone he encountered. He also loved dressing up as different characters, and kids, as well as adults, loved to take pictures with him dressed as "Black Santa." He had a way of winning over the most difficult personalities with his kindness and genuine concern for people, at times putting others' needs ahead of his. One of his favorite pastimes was taking road trips with family, where he would entertain passengers with his version of the "Dollar Game," or "Name that Tune."
He was a great father to his children and loved spending quality time with them. But it is also noted that he was regarded as a father figure to many, including grown men who either looked up to him as a father or affectionately called him "Dad." Bruce preached that love and giving went hand in hand, and he lived by giving. Throughout the years, he would give out huge gift bags filled with fruit, candy, cookies, and other edible items to mark certain holidays, turkeys with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving; passed out cologne to the congregation and visitors on Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day, handed out trophies at a moment's notice; sometimes surprised folks with huge tubs of frozen cookie dough and gallons of milk so they could bake their own chocolate chip cookies; and most notably, purchased a birthday cake every year in honor of his deceased older brother Keith who was never able to walk or talk.
Bruce was the type of person who knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted it, especially when it came down to food. A sandwich or burger may seem like a simple request, but with Bruce, it came with a list of instructions that had to be followed to the "T," such as toasting one side of the bread only, layering the meat, cheese, lettuce, etc. in a certain order, and even cutting it a certain way"and don't forget his ice.
Bruce was a very hardworking individual, and in addition to working at the AMC movie theater in Westwood, he ran several businesses over the years, including "Diah and Miah" Power Wash, "Bug Magic" Exterminators, and also had a lucrative interior and exterior painting business. He stayed true to his love of sports and was an avid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He never failed to host an annual Super Bowl Sunday gathering and loved to feed and entertain guests. Despite being a clean, neat and excellent cook who was known for his "Soul Burritos," Made-to-Order Turkey Burgers and top-shelf Barbeque (ribs, chicken, links, and trimmings all on one plate), Bruce enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program at Southwest College to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a chef. A dream that he placed on hold to take on a greater ministerial role at Full Praise Ministries when his mother, who was the pastor at that time became ill.
As Full Praise Ministries transitioned under his leadership with the passing of Evangelist Collins in 2010, Bruce kept the church going and led as an Unstoppable Believer. Unstoppable despite his health challenges; Unstoppable despite being in a wheelchair, Unstoppable despite oppositions he faced. No matter how he felt physically, he pressed on, did not waiver his trust in the Most High God and did not complain. Even with failing eyesight, he kept up with studying God's Word with various study partners and a Talking Bible device. In the weeks leading up his passing, Pastor Bruce was so committed to finishing well in God's eyesight, that during his recent extended stay at Cedars Sinai Hospital in early December, he was honored that despite him being a patient, many of the hospital's staff members sought him out for prayer - it was because of his loving and sweet spirit. He was unyielding in his faith to God, and a week before he transitioned, he expressed excitement about a new church location in Los Angeles with the amenities he wanted. Told that the building unfortunately had stairs, his response was, "If there are stair rails on each side, I can pull myself up." Bruce, the Unstoppable Believer, was called home to be with the Most High God on January 24, 2019.
Pastor Bruce leaves to cherish his memory: three children Amber McDaniel (Jon), Jedidiah and Nehemiah Collins; step-son Keenan Chapman; sisters Janice Collins and Seneca (Todd) Walker; granddaughter Jonnie Raye; a host of relatives, including Louis (Barbara) Lavender, Marvin (Geraldine) Pierce, Freddy "Popcorn," nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews; his Atlanta, Georgia family; Cheryl Collins, who remained his close friend and confidante, friends, and lastly, his loving church family, whom he referred to as the "Wolf Pack:" Minister Ike Chisom, Bro. Jedidiah, Sis. Rita DeMorst, Sis. Michelle Hamilton, Sis. Theresa Kiles, Deacon Alex Lacey, Bro. Louis Lavender, Sis. Shalon Livingston, Bro. Sheldon Livingston, Sis. Amber McDaniel, Bro. Jon McDaniel, Bro. Ronnie Mixon, and Bro. Tony Usher. His beloved parents Deacon and Evangelist Collins and both brothers (Keith and Anthony) preceded him in death.