Eustace William Cummings
Naples, Fla. — E. William Cummings, 89, Auto Executive, Real Estate Developer, Antique Auto Enthusiast.
Eustace William Cummings passed away Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, in Naples, Fla. One could say Bill never let one moment of his life go to waste – learning, planning, creating, building, writing, reading, genealogy, story telling and community service. Foremost, he was an outstanding husband and father.
Bill was born in 1923 in Woburn, Mass., the first son of Eustace Haven Cummings, owner of E. Cummings Leather Co., and Eleanor Houston Ray Cummings. He was raised with his brothers the late Donald E. Cummings and Richard Haven Cummings, in close proximity to their extended family on Eaton Ave.
They moved to Lebanon, N.H. in 1939 establishing another tannery becoming a major industry in the city. As a youth Bill represented the seventh generation to work in a Cummings’ tannery. He was actively engaged playing saxophone in the Band and Orchestra and singing in the Glee Club at Lebanon High School. He was honored with the Boy Scouts’ highest rank of Eagle Scout.
Bill attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a short period before enlisting in the Army Reserve Corps and was called to duty in 1943 during Word War II. He completed a pilot training program in the Army Air Force receiving his Silver Wings and sworn in as a Flight Officer in February 1945. After the war he resumed his studies at MIT graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in June 1948. He also had the unusual honor of being accepted as a member of the Harvard Band during his tenure at MIT.
In June 1946, on a Windjammer cruise off the Maine coast, Bill met Barbara Hansen Cummings from Pittsburgh, Pa. beginning a 65 year marriage in July 1948. The couple moved to Saginaw, Mich. where Bill began his successful career with General Motors’ Saginaw Steering Gear in the Engineering Department and later became Manager of Plant & Process Engineering followed by several Plant Manager positions. He developed a reputation for quality and creativity and was sought after by the younger leaders as a strong mentor. Concurrently, he partnered with two friends each contributing $500, and started CMP Realty. This grew to a multi-building apartment business lasting over 25 years, all by handshake. Additionally, he built apartments in New Hampshire. He was actively involved in the community with the Saginaw YMCA, serving as President of the Saginaw United Services Club, Board Chairman of the Saginaw Symphony, Board Chairman of Saginaw General Hospital, and President of the Saginaw Club. At age 55 he obtained a Master’s degree in Operations Management. His primary lifelong passion was antique automobile restoration and touring with Barbara throughout the country participating in hundreds of events, often with his children and grandchildren in tow. The couple spent winters in Naples, Fla. eventually becoming full-time residents. In recent years he led an active social life and served on the Board of the Glenview retirement residence deeply involved in a 2013 $1M refurbishment project.
Bill was devoted to his children, the late Suzanne Cummings Smith (Julian), Bruce H. Cummings (Deborah) of Bridgewater, N.H. and Brian H. Cummings of Grand Rapids, Mich. He adored his grandchildren Lisa C. Smith, Brian N. Cummings, and Brett H. Cummings along with his great-grandchildren Madison, Bianna, Giada, Jackson and Elisa.
Burial took place in the presence of Bill’s extended family in the Cummings plot at Woodbrook Cemetery of Woburn, Ma. following a ceremony in the cemetery chapel refurbished in the name of his daughter Suzanne.
In lieu of flowers, people wishing to make donations are encouraged to contribute in the name of E. William Cummings to the Glenview Employee Scholarship Fund, 100 Glenview Place, Naples, FL 34108 or the Community Foundation of Collier County, 2400 Tamiami Trail North, Naples FL 34103.