Charles H. Cummings Jr.


Charles H. Cummings Jr.

Death 13 Feb 2005 (aged 75)
Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, USA
Burial Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, USA
Plot Block 104, Lot 501, Space 12
Memorial ID 35404078 View Source
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Mr Charles H Cummings Jr, 75

Huntsville Times, The (AL) - Tuesday, February 15, 2005
May 19, 1929 - Feb. 13, 2005

Charles H. Cummings Jr., 75, of Hampton Cove died Sunday.

Mr. Cummings was a member of the Huntsville City Council, was a member and elder of Central Presbyterian Church, and was a member of the Rotary Club. Mr. Cummings was preceded in death by one son, Charles H. Cummings III.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret Wall Cummings; daughter, Dianne Mann of New Hope; one son, Douglas Cummings of Guntersville; one sister, Margaret Batson of Huntsville; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. today at Central Presbyterian Church. The funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Randy Jenkins officiating. There will be a private burial.

Memorials may be made to the Central Presbyterian Church or the Huntsville Botanical Garden.

Huntsville Times, The (AL) - Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Charles Cummings - Builder passionate about politics, religion, family

Life Stories - Charles Cummings left big mark with years of city service

By KAY CAMPBELL Times Staff Writer [email protected]

So there they all were, the hot summer of 1960, driving across the country to the Democratic National Convention.

Charles H. Cummings Jr., who died Sunday at 75, was driving. His wife was at his side, as she was whether he was piloting a car, a boat or a multi-engine airplane during 57 years of marriage.

The car on the way to the convention was packed with their three children and Cummings' little sister, Margaret Cummings Batson, then 16.

"That was before you had to be buckled in," Margaret Batson said, smiling at the memory as she joined Cummings' family to remember him Wednesday afternoon. "I'll never forget it."

"He would threaten to kill us several times," daughter Dianne Mann said. "He was a strict disciplinarian from the old school - I'll say that."

Cummings, always active in Democratic Party politics, was one of two Alabama delegates who would vote at the convention for the young senator, John Kennedy, for president.

Cummings, who also campaigned for and was friends with former U.S. Rep. Bob Jones and U.S. Sen. John Sparkman, remained interested in news and politics until the last few weeks, when he was hospitalized with complications of lung problems and perhaps a stroke.

"This was his chair," his wife, Margaret Cummings, said Wednesday, indicating a simple leather recliner in their den. "He loved to watch CNN. And the (U.S.) Senate proceedings - he loved that one."

Beside his chair is a bookcase with a shelf full of National Geographic magazines and another two shelves of Bibles and Bible commentaries, the legacy of a life of study and work at Central Presbyterian Church, where he was an elder.

"He knew everybody in church and had connections in town," his former pastor, the Rev. Ted Gartrell, said Wednesday. "And I remember that when we had things that required physical effort, like moving the stage around for plays, he was very helpful."

Cummings made his mark on Huntsville as a City Council member from 1960 to 1964, when he was active on the Planning Commission. He pushed to get the city to plan for Memorial Parkway - conceived as a bypass. He pushed to plan for a good airport. And he foresaw the need for Research Park Boulevard and risked unpopularity when he supported the widening of California Street.

He lost the 1968 mayor's race to Joe Davis and, while his family supported that effort, all of them can see in retrospect that his remaining in his real estate development business during Huntsville's boom years was a blessing.

"I think he enjoyed that time of his life as much as any," son Doug Cummings said. Another son, Charles Cummings III, died at 50 in 2000.

Charles Cummings Jr. developed Dunnavant's Mall in the 1960s, the area's first indoor shopping center. He built developments in the area and in Texas. With his uncle, Milton Cummings, he stayed in the family's cotton brokerage business for years.

He supported the local Salvation Army, where he was a member of the board, and Christmas Charities, which had been started by his uncle. He was also an active Rotary Club member.

But he always managed to find time for his family and to enjoy his boats. He and Margaret made at least 10 trips down the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to the Gulf, once all the way to Key West.

"I wish every kid could be as fortunate to be brought up as we were," Dianne Mann said. "We were taught values, love and faith. I saw those in him."

Originally published in the Huntsville Times on Thursday, February 17, 2005

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