Eleanor Collins Obituary: Vancouver’s Beloved Jazz Icon passed away on March 3, 2024

Eleanor Collins Obituary – Eleanor Collins, a beloved figure in the Vancouver jazz scene, passed away on March 3, 2024, at Surrey Memorial Hospital at the remarkable age of 104. Her life and legacy are celebrated by those who knew her, both personally and through her music.

Born Eleanor Ruth Proctor in Edmonton on November 21, 1919, Eleanor came from a family deeply rooted in music. Despite facing financial struggles during her upbringing, Eleanor’s passion for music blossomed at a young age. She began singing in her local Baptist church and with her uncle Bert’s family band, showcasing her natural talent and love for performing.

In 1939, Eleanor made the decision to move to Vancouver, where she continued to pursue her musical ambitions. She married Dick Collins in 1942, and together they raised four children. Despite her growing family, Eleanor remained dedicated to her music career, performing with various groups and orchestras in the Vancouver area.

Eleanor’s musical versatility knew no bounds. She could sing jazz, blues, gospel, pop, and show tunes with equal grace and charm. Her talent caught the attention of many, and she soon became a regular performer on CBC Radio. Her captivating voice and stage presence earned her widespread acclaim and admiration from audiences across Canada.

In 1955, Eleanor made history as the first Black person to host a national TV series on CBC, setting the stage for future generations of Black artists in Canada. Her groundbreaking work paved the way for greater diversity and representation in the Canadian entertainment industry.

Throughout her career, Eleanor faced challenges, including instances of racism and discrimination. However, she remained resilient and focused on her music, using her talent to break down barriers and promote inclusivity in the community. Eleanor’s commitment to social change through her artistry left a lasting impact on those around her.

In addition to her musical achievements, Eleanor was known for her dedication to her family. Despite her busy schedule, she always made time for her husband and children, prioritizing their well-being above all else. Eleanor’s unwavering love and support for her family were a testament to her character and values.

Eleanor’s remarkable career was recognized with numerous accolades and honors. In 2014, she was awarded the Order of Canada for her contributions to the arts, a testament to her enduring impact on Canadian culture. In 2022, she was honored with a Canada Post stamp, further solidifying her legacy as a Canadian icon.

Even in her later years, Eleanor remained active and vibrant, embodying the spirit of resilience and vitality. Her youthful appearance and zest for life were a testament to her positive outlook and dedication to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eleanor’s infectious energy and passion for music continued to inspire those around her, leaving an indelible mark on the Vancouver jazz community.

As we remember Eleanor Collins, we celebrate her life, her music, and her legacy. Her contributions to the arts and her commitment to social change will forever be remembered and cherished by all who had the privilege of knowing her. Eleanor’s memory lives on through her timeless music and the lives she touched along the way. She will be dearly missed but never forgotten. Rest in peace, Eleanor Collins, Vancouver’s beloved jazz icon.

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