Pastor Eric Dale Collins, founder and President of Collins Family Mortuary, Inc., departed this side of eternity on Tuesday, August 13, 2019. Born December 30, 1971, as quoted herein, Eric grew to be a man of deep convictions and genuine character. Though his life was relatively short in comparison to some, his life was a life well-lived, and a life devoted in reverence to the Creator. Pastor Eric was born in Quincy, Florida to Janie L. Collins and raised by the late Burnese “Cooter” and Dorothy Mae Bouie. He was a loving and devoted son. Pastor Eric, who is known for his civic leadership and faithful service to the people of Decatur County, He was a 1990 graduate of the Bainbridge High School, Decatur County School System. He identified with his professional calling at a very early age. Expressing a keen interest in the cycle of life and death. Upon graduation from high school, he immediately commenced studies at Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science in Atlanta, Georgia; He then entered an apprenticeship with Raleigh Rucker Funeral Home, Inc. in Decatur, Georgia. He graduated from Gupton Jones in 1992. He developed a successful career as a caring and compassionate funeral mortician who was known for his uncanny ability to minister to others during their time of loss. Pastor Eric was a world class embalmer. His skills in restorative art allowed him to travel a great many places. Pastor Eric served at Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home in West End, Atlanta, Georgia for 20 years. While there he served some of the most prominent families in Atlanta, Georgia. Such as Coretta Scott King, Dr. Orange Boone and the Matriarch of the Willie A. Watkins family, mother Watkins and the list continues. In his tenure at Watkins he served with Reginald Eppinger, Darryl E. Watkins I, Darryl E. Watkins, Jr. Sylvania Watkins, Rob Campbell, Dejuan, Terry, Champ, Thorton, Shena, Tracy and Stan. Pastor Eric opened Collins Family Mortuary in Bainbridge however, it was not to be, it was not in the right season. After honing his skills Pastor Eric was granted an opportunity in April 2015, He returned to Bainbridge to open Collins Family Mortuary for the second time in God’s right season. The ground was prosperous and successful. Pastor Eric put together a dedicated staff to carry on his legacy. To establish this team Pastor Eric assisted and mentored Tandria Phillips with her pursuit of mortuary science licenses, Sharonda Vickers, Gail Jenkins, Bennie Jakes, TeRandy Evans, Carolyn Diggs, Abria Harris, Brandon Register, Zachary Frazier, Sr., Amaia Taylor, Tazion Hines, Elder Felix Diggs and many others. Later in his life, Pastor Eric reunited with Pastor Greg UpShaw over funeral programs. Their relationship continued into a mentorship in embalming at H.O.P.E. Funeral Home. Pastor Eric was ordained by Reverend Dr. Raleigh Rucker in the early 90’s. Pastor Eric joined Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Reverend Charlie King in Bainbridge, Georgia. He was also currently the pastor of St. John FreeWill Baptist Church, Blakely, Georgia where Deacon Willie Reddick is the Chairman and Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, Madison, Florida where Deacon John Williams is the Chairman; Pastor Eric’s goal was to establish faith-based and servant-minded leaders. While his real reward is in Heaven, Eric received numerous honors in his life. Pastor Eric was a well-respected businessman whose civic services and years of dedication to church and community activities will not be forgotten. But, most importantly in his life was being a steadfast father to his children: Devan Collins, Brittany Hardnett, Jonathan Collins, Demontrell Collins. A pivotal moment in Pastor Eric’s life was marrying Nketia Carner on December 22, 2002. Pastor Eric being a dedicated and devoted husband to Nketia was proud of all her accomplishments and he spoke of them often. To their union Pastor Eric and Nketia raised two children, Dorothy Gail Collins and Evan Dale Collins. Pastor Eric was preceded in death by his parents, Burnese “Cooter” and Dorothy Mae Bouie. Pastor Eric Dale Collins is survived by his devoted wife of sixteen years, Nketia Carner Collins of Albany, Georgia; four sons, Devan Collins, Jonathan Collins, Demotrell Collins and Evan Dale Collins; two daughters, Brittany Hardnett and Dorothy Gail Collins; one granddaughter Erica Collins; one sister, Angela Collins of Griffin, Georgia; two devoted aunts who were raised together as sister and brother: Gail Bouie Jenkins (Randolph) of Bainbridge, Georgia; Carolyn Bouie Diggs (Felix) of Tallahassee, Florida; one uncle, Tommie Bouie (Pearl) of Fort Washington, Maryland; mother-in-law and father-in-law, Clarence and Artis Carner of Warner Robins, Georgia; seven great aunts: Fannie Pinkney of Cairo, Georgia; Eula Moultrie of Chicago, Illinois; Lena Mae Nathaniel of Macon, Georgia; Mary (Mag) Bryant of Macon, Georgia; Emma Jean Bouie of Miami, Florida; Dorothy Brown of Valdosta, Georgia; Ann Bouie of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and other family members, friends, Morticians and colleagues who loved him dearly and will miss his light in their lives.
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