The Farish Street Historic District lost its favorite son Wednesday. Ralph Collins, co-owner of Collins Funeral Home, succumbed after a long illness. He was 82. Mr. Collins loved his family, his church (Central United Methodist), and his community. He will be truly missed. Funeral services were incomplete at press time. The Jackson Advocate will publish a special tribute to him in the next issue.
Ralph Edward Collins was born to Kate Ford Collins and William E. Collins in New Orleans, Louisiana, January 25, 1939. He was raised in Fernwood (Pike County) Mississippi.
Upon graduation from Fernwood High School, he enrolled in Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There, he met Effie M. Florence. He withdrew from college and entered the United States Army and served a four-year term. Upon return home, he and Effie were married. They had two daughters, Sophronia Ann and Cheryl Cherone.
Ralph and Effie began their life together in Los Angeles, California, then moved to Chicago, Illinois, but ultimately returned to Mississippi where he began work in the family business, Collins Funeral Home, Inc., and completed study to earn a degree at Jackson State University. He also completed a course of study at Dallas (Texas) School of Mortuary Science from which he obtained a degree, and he continued work in the business until recent retirement.
Having been raised by Christian parents, Ralph followed tradition and joined Central United Methodist Church in Jackson where he was a member of the United Methodist Men’s fellowship, the men’s choir, and was often seen working with the food program and youth ministry. Beyond church, Ralph was active in the community. He served on the board of the Bethlehem Center and the Jackson State University Wesley Foundation and held membership in the Salt and Pepper Men’s Club. Additionally, he was active in the Mississippi Funeral Directors and Morticians Association. He was also a lifetime member of the JSU Alumni Association.
On July 17, 2021, following celebration of his 60th wedding anniversary, Ralph was rushed to a local hospital. Following an intense battle to regain health, he passed away July 28th. He is survived by his wife, Effie M. Collins; daughter, Sophronia Ann Collins; granddaughters, Kamaria and Danielle; sister, Annette Collins Rollins; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.