By Edward Henderson
Digital Managing Editor
On Tuesday, August 23rd, hundreds gathered to celebrate the life of Garry Joseph Walter Rollins Sr. at EastLake Church in Chula Vista. Rollins, 60, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia on September 29th, 1955 and passed away on August 14th, 2016 in San Diego. Rollins worked in education for 41 years in San Diego County and retired in 2015 as the principal at Knox Middle School. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Bernadette Rollins; his children, Garry Jr., Geminelle and Mario Lawson; and his three grandchildren.
Rollins specialized in science and astrology, a love that he shared with anyone willing to listen. During his time as a teacher and administrator, he worked tirelessly to rally the public together, emphasizing the value of respect and kindness. He also engaged closely with city officials and local law enforcement to encourage cohesiveness between school and community.
The celebration was full of heartfelt live musical performances, poetry and reflections on a man who was beloved by many. His daughter Geminelle displayed her vocal talents in the opening worship and during her remarks on her father. Family friend and poet Viet Mai shared a poem honoring Rollins’ love for space. His granddaughter Gjali read scriptures and shared touching stories that delighted those in attendance and his son Garry Jr. delivered a stirring eulogy.
The most common remark made on Rollins was on his uncanny ability to tap into the power of his mind and spirit to help others. Rollins’ wife Bernadette shared the story of how he once directed a woman to where her daughter’s lost retainer was without any prior knowledge of the situation. His first born son Mario told the story of how he telepathically received directions on how to assemble a futon for his apartment by calling his other son Garry Jr. and asking him to think about how to put it together. While these events may seem impossible to some, everyone who knew Rollins wasn’t surprised by these stories. There were many others that could have been shared.
Another of Rollins’ popular practices was taking quotes he called ‘Seeds of Inspiration’ and sharing his responses to them with friends and family called ‘Gary’s Corner’. The family shared his reflection on a quote about understanding on the back of his funeral program.
“Understanding – When it comes to interacting with others, we often talk about doing the right thing. Is not the right thing, to do right by others? We should consider the motivation behind our decisions before making them. Consider how our decisions affect the existence of others and whether our heart is open to hear and accept. Do you understand?”
When it comes to love, Garry Joseph Walter Rollins was clearly a man who understood.
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