Today we honor and celebrate the life of Bernard Lejohn Christian-Ragins, affectionately known as "Bernie." Bernard was born on Nov. 23, 1974, in Sumter, to Gwendolyn Ragins (Johnny) Heyward. He departed from this life on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018.

Bernard was the first grandson and nephew in the family and was reared by his loving grandparents, Robert Goodman Sr. and the late Helen Goodman, along with three cousins / siblings. He was not only the first grandchild, but the first to attend and complete college.

Bernard was privileged to be the first child in Gamecock Apartment Complex in 1976 to own a mobile egg car. He could be seen any day of the week riding his egg all through the complex, and everyone knew there's Rabbit's boy, Bernard.

He graduate from Sumter High School in 1993 and furthered his education at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, where he graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in psychology. Bernard was quite smart and very smart-mouthed. His friends and family could and did at any time heard him say, "I'm not trying to counsel you but I do have my degree in psychology."

Bernard grew up in Sumter but knew at a very early age that Sumter was just a little too small for him. So, after completing his undergrad studies, he launched out to pursue his passion, which was acting and being in the public's eye. Bernard attended The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, New York. He then moved to Los Angeles, California, where he was featured in shows such as "ER," "Any Day Now," "Malibu's Most Wanted," "Love & Hip Hop New York," and many audience appearances on "The Steve Wilkos Show," "The Wendy Williams Show," "The View" and "The Newlywed Game Show."

He leaves to cherish his fond memories" his loving and dedicated mother, Gwendolyn Ragins Heyward; his committed life partner, Scott Christian-Ragins; his maternal grandfather, Robert Goodman Sr.; two brothers, Rickey (Lavernda) Ragins of Columbia and Tony Heyward of Baltimore; four sisters, Sabretta Ragins of Charlotte, North Carolina, Yulandria Ragins of Laurel, Maryland, Yolanda (Lee) Hopewell of Dayton, Ohio, and Shavonda Heyward of Guam; six aunts, Cora Lee Ragins, Mary Jane Ragins, Angela (Shawn) Foxworth and Valerie Goodman, all of Sumter, and Rebecca Lynch of Suitland, Maryland; five uncles, Leon Gass and James (Tonya) Goodman of Sumter, Robert Goodman Jr. of Huntsville, Alabama, and Rodney (Mary) Miller of Lithonia, Georgia; a very devoted friend (from childhood), Kimberly Sanders; a special friend, Larisha Porter; and a host of cousins, other loved ones and friends.

Bernard was preceded in death by his loving maternal grandmother, Helen Goodman; his caring stepfather, Johnny Heyward; his paternal grandfather, Walter Allen; his aunt and godmother, Patricia Gass; and great-grandmother, Kelsie Ragins.

Mr. Ragins will be placed in the church at 2 p.m. today for viewing until the hour of service.

Funeral service will be held at 4 p.m. today at Westend Community Church, 101. S. Salem Ave., with Pastor James F. Goodman, Alive Praise & Worship Center, Sumter.

The family will receive friends at the home of his aunt, 34 Dollard Drive, Sumter.

Job's Mortuary Inc., 312 S. Main St., Sumter, is in charge of arrangements.