Estelle Ann Rollins was born in Providence, Rhode Island to Fannie Ann Bassette and Ralph Rollins on April 13, 1943, (and raised by Bertha (Gaston) Rollins). She went home to be with the Lord on October 31, 2019, after battling a very long illness. She graduated from Central High School and in 1967, she moved to New York City and lived there for 54 years. She was pioneer in almost everything she engaged in her life, once you met Estelle, she left an imprint on your soul.
She retired from the United States Postal Service and became a very accomplished entrepreneur. She was on the “cutting edge” of many business endeavors; she sold real estate, had her own desktop publishing business, she was a creative producer in partnership with her church the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and at home in Rhode Island. Estelle was a writer. She wrote newsletters, personal correspondence, and poetry. She was a major contributor to the Rollins family reunion telephone book and co-wrote and published the Rollins Family Reunion Book, one of her greatest achievements as an author was when she published “Precious Memories; Sharing Joy, Love, and Lifelines, A Family Reunion” which chronicled her travels back and forth to the famous Rollins Family Reunion cookout, her travels to Africa and her love of family, food, and fun and the “West End!”
Estelle loved to have fun, in her role as a member of the Tenants Association on Sedgwick Avenue she organized an annual Kwanzaa gathering which was the talk of the building. She was a member of Abyssinian’s Chancel Choir where she engaged in one of her favorite pastimes, singing and praising the Lord. She was an avid reader and it was because of that specific interest that she became one of the driving forces for the creation of the bookstore at Abyssinian.
Estelle loved black people and through that love she became a collector of African art and curator of African and African-American Culture, she was a member of an African-American traveling group that traveled throughout the African continent and talked extensively about how African-Americans needed to travel to Africa to reclaim a heritage that was stolen. She was a member of the Eastern Star and the National Association of Black Storytellers along with several other community organizations.
When discussing Estelle Ann Rollins, you must not forget her love of cooking and eating! She loved a good home cooked meal and was a VERY good cook. Her favorite foods from her childhood growing up on Wadsworth Street were fried chicken, greens, potato salad, tapioca pudding and wonder bread sandwiches with Miracle Whip. Ha!
She will be greatly missed by her two Goddaughters’ – April Brown and Jayna Rowe, her best friends Grace Brown and Betty Ann Fowler-Pleasants, her cousins Rosalyn Soares, Vivian Graham, and Mary Silva Frazier, and over 600 cousins, nieces and nephews.
There are many scriptures throughout her book – but the one that is placed before the last chapter – Miracle of prayer – is significant. It is from Isaiah and it reads, but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint!
Rest in Power!
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