Photo by Lester Henderson
UTICA – Mr. Bryson K. Collins aka “Big B”, age 54, passed away unexpectedly in the emergency room at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Born in Utica on February 3, 1965, Bryson was the son of the late Chester “Chet” LaFrance Jones and Evelyn “Lady E” Bush Stenson. He also knew the love and guidance of his Pops, the Rev. Johnny Stenson who taught him the importance of the virtues of responsibility, respect, and how to be a man. As a legendary D.J., Bryson was blessed with the musical talents he inherited from his mom.
Raised and educated locally, he was a graduate of Utica Free Academy and in more recent years attended MVCC. He continued his education because he always wanted to have knowledge at his disposal.
A man bestowed with a big heart, “Big B” loved, has been loved, and was a father figure to many. He was a good and protective partner to his love Shimeen Nicole Bell.
Because of his love of music and his bright, original style, Bryson found his vocation as a self-employed D.J. working at nightclubs, weddings, “Sweet16” parties, and any other occasions that would be supercharged by the songs and sounds that “Big B” brought to the celebrations. He could satisfy and rock a crowd!
He was iconic, effortless, flawless, and magical in his performances. He was humble of heart and had his act together.
He was also a D.J at Utica Phoenix Radio 95.5/FM where he worked as a technical engineer, sound man, and background and support man but his two time slots were legendary.
He was truly passionate and devoted during his 40 years in the profession and he exited this world on the top of his game.
Music was his life, and it brought everything together for him. He loved many genres and was well-versed when he prepared for a “gig”.
If you were in attendance, you always got his best because “Big B” healed hearts and brought out the best in others. Social, outgoing, and a “jokester by nature”, his personality was his “calling card”. His aura was amazing, generating good vibes and a charisma that touched so many souls. He was renowned and larger than life.
Bryson was blessed with a mom who taught him the perfect balance of love and compassion, yet she corrected his actions if they were awry, and only a few words or a look served to straighten out the situation. As a loving son, he worked hard to emulate her. She made her son feel secure, and her grandchildren as well.
As a single dad, Bryson raised two sons, by his side, and as a parent, he made sure that they showed respect. He supported their decisions, suggested alternative choices when necessary, and gave them approval of their goals which meant the world to his boys. He treasured the day-to-day memories of them, including “hoop on the door with a sock as the ball’, Saturday morning cartoons, and the famous egg melts he made for them, memories that will remain a part of their hearts forever.
As a grandpa, he gave his grandbabies his time and his love, showed them fun times and sleepovers, and made great memories for them, filled with affection.
“Big B” loved the majesty of nature and the outdoors and was amazed by the interesting nuggets of knowledge he picked up from programs on the Animal Planet station and the Science Channel.
He played basketball at church leagues, Steuben Park, James and Steuben Street, Quinn’s Playground, and Martin Luther King School, “Rock Creek”.
Children looked to “Big B” as a big brother, a father, and a friend. He fulfilled that role and picked up the moral responsibility of a paternal role model, and he did it well. Many years ago, he recorded a song entitled, “Get Up and Get a Job!”
As a radio station personality, he was able to advertise the website he created with live stream capability so his fans would be able to access his time slot. It was a rewarding accomplishment achieved through his efforts, promotional skills, and technological talent.
After his mom’s passing, Bryson embraced a personal spirituality and found solace and support in the Cornerstone Plymouth Church. Through his music and positive mindset, he made family occasions special. Bryson was a lifelong member of St. Paul’s Baptist Church. He had a great love for the Lord and believed in the power of prayer. As the patriarch of his family, he carried out his responsibilities with good will and grace.
Bryson was blessed to be the father of six children. His two sons that he raised and the partners they have now chosen, Bryson Vickery and Robin Archer, and Trevor Collins and Vanessa Bray; and Alyssa, Ali, Kwame, and Chris.
He also leaves numerous grandchildren, including Trevayah Collins, Khloé Collins, Rehema Archer, and Rarity Vickery; his Pops, the Rev. Johnny Stenson; his siblings and their loves, Leona Pollard, Delores Collins and Willie “Woodrow”, Fredrick “Fred” Collins, Pamela “Pam” Collins, Cheryl and Bill Norris, Celeste Collins, Kevin and Daretta Collins, and Ray, and Steve; his partner in life, Shimeen Nicole Bell and her son Jayden; three men that he considered his additional sons, Jamel Davis, Jesus Roman, and Raymond Roman; step-daughter, Marissa Green; a host of nieces including, Shannon, Sabrina, Alicia, Tiffany, Tameka, Linia, Evelyn, Brittany, Kayla, Cherise, Dezerae, Jalisa, Delores, Shakeema, and Tamara; and a host of nephews including, Alex, James, Ian, Dorian, Charles, DaVaughn, Dorell, Fredric, Kristopher, Richard, Mario, and Kevin, Jr.; great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, aunts, especially Sheila J. Bush Burns, and uncles.
“Big B” had many wonderful friends, but it would be remiss if the following were not mentioned: Mike Johnson, Mark McKenzie, Jerome McKinsey, Mark “G” Brooks, Reese Vines, Cassandra Harris-Lockwood, and his co-workers at the Radio Station. He was predeceased by his aunt, Geraldine Davis.