|Birth: ||Sep. 27, 1931|
|Death: ||Sep. 24, 2005|
Silver Bow County
To many people he was "Martin," but to me he was Dad.
William Martin Cumins died Saturday, Sept. 24th, 2005 (just 3 days shy of his 74th birthday) due to complications of a stroke he suffered. At the time of his death, he was residing in Butte at the home of his daughter, Rebecca.
He was born on Sept. 27, 1931 in Louisville, Miss., the son of sharecroppers. His parents, along with his brothers and sisters worked the cotton fields. Daddy would often tell me of the hardships they all had to endure. During the dust bowl era, they realized in what would eventually become a harsh reality; not only for them, but for the many families during this time of having to give up their livelihood as they knew it and relocate, which forced them to move west. The move mirrored the movie, "The Grapes of Wrath," which affected them in more ways than one.
After the long move with the family, and having to stay in migrant camps along the way, to the West, their mama and papa with all the kids finally found a place to lay their roots down again.
They settled in Porterville California, which is located in the agricultural Central San Joaquin Valley to start a new life, working in the fields and packing houses. My grandfather built the house they would live in and stay for the remainder of his life and the life of my grandmother. I remember visiting that house many a time when I was just a young kid. It was such a neat place; nothing like any of the homes you would see today.
Dad enlisted in the Army and served in the Korean War stateside. He really wanted to go overseas, but had to remain stateside because of an injury he suffered as a young boy causing him to lose his eye.
I asked him later on in life how that happened, and he told me the story of when he was just a boy playing "Cowboys & Indians" with a friend. The both had BB guns and dad hid behind a bail of hay out in the barn. When he peeked up over the bail, his friend fired, striking my dad in the eye. My dad was never bitter about it, he said it was just an accident that had happened; and lived with just one eye for the rest of his life.
In 1951, William married Doris Mackey. Their marriage produced three children; Donald, Kathy, and Donna. They later divorced, resulting in William becoming a single parent. In 1964 he married Beverly Gillispie, who had three children from a previous marriage; and this marriage produced three more children; Noel (who died at birth), Rebecca and Matthew, (who came after their doctor advised them to have another child, since losing one in death). Their family now consisted of a "his, hers & ours," situation, but dad never looked at it that way; he had eight wonderful kids who saw him, and called him Dad. He never treated any one of us different from the others, he loved each of us as his very own!! He instilled in each of us the morals and values we have each carried into our adulthood. His family meant everything to him, and at times he would be a disciplinarian, but he only did it because he loved us. I remember dad was always wanted the family to eat together, and because there were 10 of us, he bought a brand new picnic table, put padding on the benches, and that is what we used for a dining room table. It worked great!
He was educated both in Mississippi and California, getting his degree in Childhood Education. He worked for more than 30 years, providing for his family as a Psychiatric Technician in the different California State Hospitals. Dad also did a lot of volunteer work when he retired. Some of his services were working at a food bank in San Luis Obispo Co., delivering food to shut-ins, and at the Police Dept. in Paso Robles Ca.; where he started a program of taking the stolen bicycles that were never recovered, fixing them up, and giving them to the underprivileged kids that didn't have a bike of their own. This was just the many things dad did for others..he was always giving of himself to others in more ways than I can remember, sometimes forgetting about himself so others could have, and I know now that Daddy is getting his just rewards in heaven!
As you can see the pictures of dad posted in his bio, he liked wearing all kinds of hats. I was on vacation when I came across the perfect hat for dad. It was in ball cap style, and in big letters on the front it had SOB, underneath SOB it said "sweet ol' buzzard!" I knew he'd love it; and he did. He wore it all the time....with pride!
We all loved to go camping....all 10 of us. I remember the HUGE tent we had; by golly, that thing fit all of us with no problem! We would go to different places, but one place in particular that stands out in my mind was a place called "Leprechaun Woods." That was the COOLEST place we ever went. I was just about 7 or 8 at the time. I remember asking Dad about it years later, and he said the Catholic church ran it. It was great. The place seemed packed all the time. In the evening, everyone would be at their campsites with their fires going, just chillin, having good family time, then all of a sudden; here would come a Leprechaun handing out little trinkets and such. I really loved the memories Dad made for all of us there. Thanks Dad...and Mom!
After his retirement, he fulfilled his dream of being able to travel. He was a Camp Host for many state beaches in California. He loved hosting because it enabled him to meet new people,(he was a people person for sure!) and be near the ocean. He spent many days at the ocean; walking along the beach picking up seashells and different rocks, making creations out of all he found. Dad found solace at the beach; looking out at the wonder that God put before him; that was his comfort zone! He was what you would call the typical "beach bum." He continued to travel until his health started to suffer.
After suffering a stroke in 2003, he came to Montana to be near his daughter and grandchildren. He was no longer the independent soul we were so used to seeing; the stroke had totally debilitated his whole left side; but the family did try to keep up his traveling adventures he always liked taking. He never saw Yellowstone Park, so we took him and he thoroughly enjoyed it, plus seeing many other places in Montana. God gave him another 2 years on this earth and I only hope and pray they were good years to him. He was living with his daughter and her family when God called him home.
William was preceded in death by his parents; four sisters, three brothers, 2 daughters; (infant) Noel Cumins; and Kathleen Hammons.
He is survived by his daughters; Rebecca Cumins of Montana, Donna Frausto of California, Denise Black of Arkansas, and Diana Kathary of New Jersey. Sons; Donnie Cumins, Matthew Cumins of California, & T.J. Conners of Kentucky. Sister, Mable Tucker of Illinois, 13 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and all the good friends he met in his many journeys. His life made such an impact on so many people with the kindness he showed. Thanks for all you did Daddy!
Dad will be GREATLY missed by all who knew him. Always remembered, but never forgotten! RIP DAD, We love you!
I THANK ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE LEFT AND WILL LEAVE FLOWERS FOR MY DAD; HE WAS WORTH THEM ALL!! GOD BLESS YOU!!
****The Broken Chain****
WE LITTLE KNEW THAT MORNING THAT GOD WAS GOING TO CALL YOUR NAME,
IN LIFE WE LOVED YOU DEARLY, IN DEATH WE DO THE SAME.
IT BROKE OUR HEARTS TO LOSE YOU, YOU DID NOT GO ALONE;
FOR PART OF US WENT WITH YOU, THE DAY GOD CALLED YOU HOME.
YOU LEFT US PEACEFUL MEMORIES, YOUR LOVE IS STILL OUR GUIDE;
AND THOUGH WE CANNOT SEE YOU, YOU ARE ALWAYS AT OUR SIDE.
OUR FAMILY CHAIN IS BROKEN, AND NOTHING SEEMS THE SAME;
BUT AS GOD CALLS US ONE BY ONE, THE CHAIN WILL LINK AGAIN.
Lillian Anna Tanksley Cumins (1897 - 1961)
Kathleen Diane Cumins Hammons (1953 - 2000)*
Noel Elaine Cumins (1967 - 1967)*
Nellie Cumins Brown (1920 - 2000)*
William Martin Cumins (1931 - 2005)
Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Specifically: I kept some of my father's cremains. I keep them with a beautiful picture of him. He wanted to be scattered in the Pacific Ocean which is what was done.
Maintained by: Rebecca Cumins
Originally Created by: A Marine's Daughter
Record added: Sep 29, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11851034