Bourgeois passes away at the age of 87; he was the visionary, heart, and soul of Sunshine’s Health Food & Vegan Restaurants
Before healthy living and eating became trendy amongst many people, especially African Americans, Vergis Bourgeois, Jr., affectionately known as “Sunshine,” became a visionary and a holistic healing and wellness leader in the Greater Houston area for over 30 years.
After having served the Greater Houston area for more than 30 years as the visionary co-founder of Sunshine’s Health Food Store & Vegetarian Deli, the community has been left to mourn the loss of this pillar in the community, as he transitioned peacefully on June 30th with his family by his side, at the age of 87.
Vergis “Sunshine” Bourgeois, Jr. was born on April 5, 1936, in Sorrell, LA, to Vergis Bourgeois, Sr., and Hazel Milton Bourgeois. He was the third of four children.
In 1983, he and his daughter, Arga Bourgeois, opened Sunshine’s Health Food Store & Vegetarian Deli—one of Houston’s first health food stores serving raw and cooked vegetarian dishes. They both started the business because there was a dire need in the Black community for healthy food options and he and his daughter joined together to carry out that vision.
In Sunshine’s day-to-day operation, “Sunshine” was hands-on, alongside his daughter, while he also continued to tour internationally, presenting his inspirational messages and meditative healing techniques.
The loss of her father and business partner has been sorrowful for Arga, however, she is encouraged about the legacy he left and the impact her father had on the world.
“As we mourn the loss of my father, I am so grateful that we were fortunate enough to share him with the community while he shared with us… He lived an amazing life of love and happiness… The Sun will always shine!,” said Arga.
“Sunshine” graduated with a BS in Electronics from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and decided to begin his wellness journey while searching for a holistic path to improve his own health. He trained with some of the industry’s greatest minds and highly respected practitioners such as Dr. Paul Goss (Iridology and Herbs), Dick Gregory (Diet and fasting), Dr. Aris LeTham (Juicing and Raw), Dr. L. Africa (Nutrition), and many more.
“Sunshine” supported, mentored, and trained thousands of people on safely transitioning from meat to a whole-food, plant-based diet. He was devoted to teaching whole foods nutrition in an easy, friendly, non-intimidating way. He believed in simply building a healthy relationship with wholesome foods and not following a restrictive “diet” or recipes. His approaches taught people to commit to supplying their body with only the highest quality delicious whole foods and superfoods and reaping the benefits of increased energy and vitality.
“Sunshine” enjoyed using his knowledge and training of herbs, nutrition, fasting, and iridology to assist others and help them learn skills for their soul’s evolvement, healing, transformation, and fulfillment to attain optimal health. He would offer weekly lectures, vegetarian deli, in-depth investigatory consultations, Iridology readings for long-term health, and would create formulas using Newbody herbs at his Sunshine’s family-owned establishment.
In May, the Forward Times reported the grand opening of their second location in Fifth Ward, as “Sunshine” was on hand to celebrate this momentous occasion with family, friends, and community supporters. As was customary to his vision, the new location at 1202 Lockwood is in an area with limited access to affordable and nutritious food, also known as a food desert.
The community has truly lost a legend and a humble servant. “Sunshine” not only changed the way the African American community viewed healthy living and eating, but he also introduced the community to the importance of entrepreneurship and building a successful Black, family-owned business before our very eyes.
There has been an outpouring of thoughts, stories, and memories on social media., as “Sunshine” impacted the lives of so many who were blessed to meet him.
The Forward Times will continue to keep the Bourgeois family and the Sunshine’s family in our thoughts and prayers, and we encourage all our readers to do the same, as we celebrate the life and legacy of this health and wellness visionary icon who forever changed the landscape of the African American community in the Greater Houston area.
The funeral services for Mr. Vergis “Sunshine” Bourgeois, Jr. will be 11:00 am on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at Holman Street Baptist Church, located at 3501 Holman Street, Houston, TX 77004. COVID-19 protocols will be enforced.