This obituary is a part of a collection about individuals who have died within the coronavirus pandemic. Examine others right here.
When Jason Collins stepped onto the courtroom on Feb. 23, 2014, as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, it was a historic occasion: He was the primary brazenly homosexual participant within the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation, and this was his first time in uniform since he had come out.
Among the many 1000’s cheering him on in Los Angeles, in a sport in opposition to the Lakers, have been his uncle, Mark Collins, and Mark’s husband, Tony Murray. “Congratulations,” they mentioned to Mr. Collins over drinks after the sport. “We love you.”
They have been extra than simply supportive members of the family. Mr. Collins and Mr. Murray married in 2013, the identical 12 months Jason Collins got here out in a cowl story in Sports activities Illustrated. In that article, and in lots of different locations, he talked about how necessary his uncles have been to him as examples of homosexual males — and, as he started to inform individuals about his sexuality, how useful they have been as guides and advisers.
“For a confused young boy,” Mr. Collins wrote, “I can think of no better role model of love and compassion.”
Additionally they paved the way in which for Jason to come back out to his household by exhibiting them that homosexual males have been nothing to be afraid of. Some kinfolk had issue accepting that Mark Collins was homosexual — till they met Tony.
“I think once we saw how Mark and Tony were, the love they had for each other, we knew Mark was going to be fine,” Mr. Collins, who performed for six groups in a 13-year N.B.A. profession, mentioned in a telephone interview.
Mr. Murray died on March 16 at a hospital in Valley Stream, N.Y. He was 60. The trigger was Covid-19, Mark Collins mentioned.
Antoine Murray was born on Nov. 16, 1960, in Philadelphia. His father, William Murray, was unemployed; his mom, Phyllis (Turner) Murray, labored as an workplace clerk at a grocery store.
Alongside along with his husband and nephew, he’s survived by his sisters Cynthia and Darlene and his brothers William and Brian.
Mr. Murray graduated from Pennsylvania State College with a level in communications and acquired a grasp’s in training from West Chester College in Pennsylvania.
Whereas in faculty he interned at WCAU, a TV station in Philadelphia, and was later employed there as a mail clerk. He rose steadily, changing into its supervisor of group relations.
It was that job, which concerned a heavy dose of instructional outreach, that took him to an educators’ convention in Philadelphia in 1995. Additionally in attendance was Mr. Collins, who’s a social employee for the Hempstead, N.Y., public faculties.
The 2 started a long-distance relationship, visiting one another and taking journeys to discover their respective house states. They each liked casinos, and traveled to Atlantic Metropolis and Las Vegas.
They liked meals, too. Together with holidays to foodie-friendly cities like New Orleans, Mr. Murray cooked for them at house, lavishly and infrequently. His tastes have been eclectic, however he had a spot for making enormous spreads of soul meals.
“When he cooked, he always cooked for 30 people,” Mark Collins mentioned. “He didn’t know how to cook in small portions.”
After Mr. Murray moved to New York within the mid-2000s to work in administration for the YMCA, the couple settled within the Far Rockaway part of Queens. There they might host neighborhood barbecues on their entrance garden, with Mr. Murray primarily catering the entire unfold. He grew to become one of the crucial in style individuals within the neighborhood, Mark Collins mentioned.
Each Jason and Mark Collins described Mr. Murray as an outdated soul, relaxed and considerably reserved, dedicated to his Baptist religion however adamant in protection of homosexual rights.
Mr. Murray and Mr. Collins marched yearly within the New York Metropolis Delight parade, and in 2013 they traveled to Boston to affix Jason Collins in his first Delight march. The basketball participant was there on the invitation of Rep. Joe Kennedy III, his former faculty roommate, who was main a contingent within the parade.
His uncles smiled as the gang cheered for Jason.
“It was a beautiful day,” Mark Collins remembered. “Tony was so proud of Jason. He was just humbled by the whole experience.”