VALDOSTA — Family members, friends and community members filled Union Cathedral Church Saturday to celebrate the life of the late Sidney Bivins Jr.

The procession of family was led by Bivins’ son, Sidney Bivins III. As relatives entered the church, a slide show with pictures of Bivins and close friends and family could be seen.

As the service began, reflections were heard by Kenneth Moore, Reginald McQueen Jr., Dexter Brown and John Wallace Isom Jr.

During his reflection, McQueen, Bivins’ cousin, smiled as he reminisced on how Bivins taught him how to talk to girls. Before he ended his reflection, McQueen said, “Everything happens for a reason. And for me, this happening means change.”

Isom, who took a college course with Bivins, spoke about the legacy he left at the college.

“He was an African-American male in college and doing good,” Isom said. “He was respected at the college ... and African-American male from Ora Lee West in college. Now put that in the paper...we tell everything else. Tell that!”

Bivins’ friend, Myeshia Bennett then recited a poem she wrote in his honor, during which she said, “Life was taken too soon over ignorance. College and family was his full-time and partying and joking were his part-time ...”

Bennett’s piece was followed by a poem entitled “On the Dirt of Hudson Dockett” by Stephen McGill of Poetic Magic.

The eulogy was given by Bishop Wade S. McCrae and focused on the characteristics of death.

“Death is unavoidable, unpredictable and

impartial,” McCrae said. “I hear people say that they are not afraid of dying. But if you don’t know what’s on the other side of death, you ought to be scared.”

McCrae added that since death is unpredictable, people should live right.

After the eulogy, several audience members approached the altar in hopes of making a change in their lives.

The eulogy was followed by a presentation of flowers and the final viewing of Bivins’ body.

The funeral service program included a degree presentation from Valdosta State University. However, a representative from the university did not attend.

Dinner was held at J.L. Newbern Middle School after the service.

Bivins is survived by two small children; his mother, Dannita McQueen; father, Sidney Bivins, Sr.; four brothers; four sisters; and a special friend, Le’Andria Hepburn.

Bivins, 19, passed away at South Georgia Medical Center on Nov. 15, following a mass shooting in the Hudson Dockett housing project.

So far, two suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting. Bernard Sanders, 24, has been charged with felony murder and Jerrod Dujuane Brandon, 20, has been charged with aggravated assault, making false statements and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, according to reports from the Valdosta Police Department.

A third suspect, Trumain Sidney Small, 39, remains at large and is considered to be armed and dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to contact the VPD Bureau of Investigation at (229) 293-3145 or the Crime Tip Line at (229) 293-3091.

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