LENORA SPEED COLLINS
JANUARY 12, 1910 - OCTOBER 6, 2011
Born to devoutly Christian parents with long Methodist traditions, Lenora Speed began her earthly journey on a farm in Meehan, Mississippi. The oldest girl with eight siblings, she learned hard work and responsibility at an early age, qualities that served her well as a minister’s wife.
Lenora met her husband-to-be, Albert Collins of Forest, Mississippi, at an Epworth League summer camp in Hattiesburg. With limited resources and transportation, courtship was difficult but obviously effective, for they were soon engaged. On April 8, 1933 she boarded a train alone in Jackson, Mississippi for a trip to Ruston, Louisiana to become Albert’s bride. A retired Methodist minister, Brother Bowman, married them the night she arrived. Their marriage, blessed with two children, Lynette Faulkinberry and Albert Junior, lasted 59 years until Albert’s death in 1992.
Rev. Collins served churches throughout Louisiana for over fifty years. As a devoted wife, Lenora taught Sunday School, worked with the Women’s Society, counseled youth groups, visited and on occasion she even preached. She most enjoyed the music ministry as she played piano and sang in the choir.
Although very strong willed, she confided only to those who knew her well that at times she had felt inadequate for the task. Starting a family and ministry to small churches, all with charges, during the depth of the Depression with family hundreds of miles away was a daunting task. That’s when she discovered Revelation 2:4 where John admonished the church at Ephesus not to lose their first love, devotion to Christ.
On her 100th birthday celebration, after much coaxing, she sat at the piano. Long since able to read music and with twisted hands and drawn fingers she began to play. Through a few missed notes and restarts came an unmistakable tune, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder”. She never lost her first love.
Al Collins, Jr., Son
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