Kansas City minister and videographer Edgar Rollins Sr. dies


Edgar Rollins Sr.

Photo provided by the family

Editor’s note: This feature is part of a weekly The Star focus intended to highlight and remember the lives of deceased Black Kansas citizens.

Edgar Rollins Sr. a Kansas City pastor who ministered through preaching, basketball and his work behind the camera, died April 10. He was 76 years old.

Rollins was born on April 5, 1946, in Nashville, Arkansas, to Amanda and Otis Rollins. He was one of two twin boys.

In 1952 he moved to Kansas City and attended Wendell Phillips Elementary, Central Junior High and in 1965 graduated from Central Senior High School where he was voted “Jolly Good” by his peers, his family said.

It was in high school that he met Brenda Stuckey, the woman who would become his wife of 56 years, and mother of his four children. They married in 1966.

He worked as a meter reader for MGE for years before retiring from the natural gas company to work as a caretaker with Kansas City Public Schools.

But his job, more than anything, was in ministry.

A young Rollins founded the Greater Corinthian Baptist Church, which is now Great Corinth Church of Christ, non-denominational, shortly after starting a family. Feeling a call to Christ, Rollins became an ordained minister in 1972.

Throughout his life, it was the ministry that brought him the greatest joy and community, his children said.

They could often find their father eating quietly with an open Bible on a table under a lamp, studying the word as he had for decades.

But more often than not, he was outside and spreading the word to others.

Many knew him as Reverend Cool, laughingly said his daughters, Yolonda Rollins, 52, and LaTonya Rollins, 55.

Their father used to invite young men to his house to play basketball, a hobby he had always enjoyed, they said. He taught them to shake hands with a man and look someone in the eye.

Rollins’ impact on the lives of other men in particular has been profound, his family said. He was a second father to many, and his love of the gospel rubbed off on at least a handful of men who continued the ministry because of him.

Rollins was straightforward when it was serious, but could also be clumsy when the moment called for it. He was the life of the party with an irresistible laugh.

But if Rollins heard something he didn’t like the sound of, he could put on his minister’s hat in a heartbeat. And he knew when people were struggling and needed someone to listen to them.

One woman told Rollins’ family that when she felt inadequate in her darker complexion, he did what others didn’t: he went out of his way to tell her she was beautiful.

Since his death, many men have written tributes to Rollins, saying he personified definitions of manhood and fatherhood. His family knows it first hand.

“Everything we did, our dad was there,” LaTonya Rollins said. “You could turn around and he was sitting there cheering us on.”

Watching his family grow and prosper, Rollins used to say, “If I had a camera, I could capture this.”

Rollins was an artist at heart, known for being able to draw freehand. In 1988, his wife gave him a video camera to capture every moment.

He taught himself how to use that first camera, a big, bulky thing that rested on his shoulder. He practiced zooming in and out while watching his son graduating through the viewfinder.

As director of the Joy Unlimited Community Choir of Kansas City, where his children sang, he began recording their musicals. He learned to edit clips and layer words.

Then he started recording every Sunday at church.

Word spread about the pastor who was always carrying a video camera.

“Nothing was off limits,” Yolonda Rollins said.

He has become, for many, Kansas City’s go-to videographer. Weddings, funerals, family picnics. This is how he showed his love for the city – lugging cameras and tripods, capturing the joy and the legacy.

When the Rollins left their old home, they found a shed filled with thousands of videos and DVDs capturing important community moments over the past three decades.

In 2018, Rollins was recognized with a city statement for how he served the community by capturing its beautiful moments without hesitation, the family said.

“He poured himself into so many people and so many things,” LaTonya Rollins said. “He gave himself entirely”

Rollins is survived by his wife, Brenda Rollins, his children, LaTonya Rollins, Yolonda Rollins, Kenyetta Rollins, Edgar Rollins, Jr. and Sherrie Lee; sister, Leola Wilkerson; grandchildren, Bryant Weems, Tya Rollins-Johnson, Ciarra Rollins, Kennedi Canady, Victoria Rollins, Vaida Rollins, Tylan Battle, Dominiquie Williams, Marcia Tibbs and Cailyn Taylor; great-grandchildren, Derike Pitchford, Amora Rollins, Kylie, Karlie and Krystal Taylor.

Other Memories

Elizabeth Ross Coleman Lawrence A. Jones & Sons Funeral Chapels

Elizabeth Ross Coleman, who dedicated her life to serving the community, including serving at the Veterans Affairs Hospital and volunteering for children with special needs, died March 26, according to her obituary. She was 89 years old.

Coleman, a longtime member of Centennial United Methodist Church, was also a member of its associated ward, 23rd Street PAC, and had a passion for reading and learning.

After spending three decades as a medical transcriptionist for the Kansas City VA Medical Center, Coleman decides to spend her retirement working as a school bus monitor for children with special needs. She also volunteered to help people with severe disabilities.

One of her favorite sayings was, “Doing the right thing never goes out of fashion,” her family said.

She is survived by four children, 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, 32 great-great-grandchildren and one great-great-great-grandson.

Eloise Anderson Thatcher Funeral Home

Eloise Andersonotwho owned a local beauty salon for 45 years, died March 25. She was 82 years old.

In 1961, Anderson, who was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida, fell in love with Willie C. Anderson, who was serving in the Navy. After a few moves, they settled in Kansas City, Kansas in 1968.

Two years later, she joined St. Peters CME Church where she served on the board and stewardesses board, planned fashion and helped with fundraisers, according to her obituary. .

In 1990, she received a master’s degree in the art and culture of beauty from the National Institute of Cosmetology, later obtaining her doctorate. She owned and operated Lois Beauty Salon until her retirement.

She is survived by six children, 11 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, one brother and two sisters.

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Anna Spoerre covers breaking news for the Kansas City Star. Prior to joining The Star, she covered crime and the courts for the Des Moines Register. Spoerre is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she studied journalism.

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