The Life Story of E. Steven Collins

…to know him was to love him.

There are no adequate words to describe the man we all know as E. Steven Collins.  For many people, E was the unofficial Mayor of Philadelphia. An icon and public personality, he was friend and advisor to people from all walks of life including elected officials at every level, community organizers, business executives and his legions of fans. His life and work, and his distinctive voice, touched the hearts of tens of thousands of people in the city and throughout the country.

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He was a devoted husband, father, brother, and friend who delighted in entertaining friends and family and bringing people together across the spectrum of life in Philadelphia. He was an influential force in many facets of the community – from education to politics to the arts to philanthropy. He loved people, he loved connecting them with each other and he loved activating his network to advance the causes in which he so passionately believed. E was a fervent activist, a man of infinite compassion and an ardent supporter of myriad causes. He helped create Unity Day and served in or led organizations including the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, Concerned Black Men, Inc.; The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association for Non-Violence; Montgomery County Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association; The Mayor’s Commission on Literacy; The Urban League of Philadelphia; Multi-Cultural Affairs Congress; The Marian Anderson Awards Board of Directors and The Ivy Legacy Foundation.  One of E’s most popular events was when he served his signature dish as a celebrity chef at The Ivy Legacy Foundation’s annual fundraiser known as Philly’s Men Are Cookin’.

E attended Temple University and is to receive the Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Award and be inducted into Temple’s School of Media & Communication Hall of Fame in October.  E earned these noteworthy distinctions as a result of his excellence in a craft he perfected.  In 2004, E won the Emmy for producing the Mayoral Debate between John Street and Sam Katz.  He unselfishly used his voice and his microphone to amplify for so many on issues that mattered in the lives of others and in the life of this city.  A forty-year veteran of the radio community, E spent the last decade of his career as Radio One’s director of urban marketing and external relations and the host of his weekly show, “Philly Speaks” on Old School 100.3, which regularly featured a distinguished panel of local and national guests each Sunday. Before joining Radio One, E spent nearly 30 years working at WDAS where he built a series of programs and initiatives that remain in place today.

E was no stranger on the national stage.  His unique insights and perspectives were featured on a variety of local and national media including CN8, Comcast Newsmakers and Fox 29′s Good Day Philadelphia. During the 2008 Presidential election, E appeared numerous times on MSNBC including “Hardball” with Chris Matthews. He also appeared on CNN Midday, CNN’s American Morning with John Roberts, CNN Weekend and PBS News Hour.

The essence of E can be traced to his love of spending time with those he cared deeply for and with those who cared deeply for him.  Whether it was spending summer vacations in Cape May, New Jersey, hosting large family dinners on holidays, having pool parties too numerous to count, or hosting events for aspiring political candidates, E and Lisa’s home was the epicenter of social activity.

Raised in the Collins family where unconditional love is the norm, E will be cherished by his sisters Judy Cherry (Reggie), Janet Ridley, and Cheryl Jackson (Greg) and his brother, Michael Collins.  When E met the love of his life, the Duhart family embraced him as one of their own.  Mourning their loss will be his mother-in-law, Geraldine Duhart and his sisters-in-law Gina Cortez (John), Cheryl Duhart, and his brothers-in-law Derek Duhart (Cynthia), Bill Duhart (Lisa), and Von Duhart (Alma).

Without a doubt, the joy of E’s life was rooted in his love for God and the gift God gave him in the fierce love of three very special people…his wife Lisa, and his sons, Rashid and Langston.  Lisa and E were together for twenty five years and cherished each day they were blessed by God to have.  His sons were everything to him and he was everything to them.  And let’s not forget Jake, his four-legged son who was the most excited one when E came home.  The love E had for them is indescribable.  It was matched only by the love they will forever have in their hearts for him.  In them, E found his sanctuary, his strength, and his respite from the hectic life that awaited him each day he stepped outside the comfort of his home.  In them, E found the love that sustained him and nurtured him.  Their love made E that man that so many knew him to be…a man of strength, courage, intelligence, humility, loyalty, character, drive, commitment, compassion, and so much more.

E. Steven Collins, as you leave this place, go with God.

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