Cummings, John Mitchell
John Mitchell Cummings, 76, passed away on May 22, 2014 surrounded by his loving family. He was predeceased by his parents Alex L. and Margaret H. Cummings and by his favorite aunt Nancy Lee Cummings Donaldson. He was also predeceased by his favorite dog Cory (CH Briergreens Hearthside Encore CGC, TDI). Mr. Cummings is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Verna U. Cummings; by his five children, Katharine L. Cummings of Johnson City, Mary E. Cummings (David Rauschmeier) of Endwell, John H. Cummings (Wendy) of Johnson City, Margaret H. Allston (Loren) of Wendell, NC, and James M. Cummings (Karen) of Johnson City; as well as grandchildren, Katelinn, Tim, Lisa, Julie, Kelly and Zane, Connor and Aaron, Alexis and Jessica, and Jack. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren and how his children have become successful in their own right. John is also survived by two sisters, Barbara Leary and Carol Cummings, and four nephews. Mr. Cummings was born in Gettysburg, PA and was raised in Snyder, NY outside of Buffalo. He graduated from Amherst Central High School in 1956 and Michigan State University in 1960. Following his graduation from MSU, he and Verna moved to Buffalo where he went to work for his father in his wholesale food distribution business. In 1961, he joined the staff at the University of Buffalo to help establish its first Personnel Department and to help prepare the university for its coming merger with the State University of New York. Mr. Cummings remained at UB until 1968 when he accepted the position as the first Director of Personnel at the SUNY College at Fredonia. During his time in Fredonia, he was very active in the Jaycees, holding a number of elected positions including Vice President and Treasurer. He was involved in a variety of community projects including the construction of a new Little League field. He also worked on a number of local political campaigns for village offices. In 1974, Mr. Cummings was invited to become Assistant Director of Personnel at the SUNY University Center at Binghamton. He accepted that position and was promoted to Director in 1976. He remained in that position until his retirement in 1999. Following his retirement, Mr. Cummings worked as a part-time Hearing Officer reviewing step two grievance appeals throughout the SUNY system. Throughout his SUNY career, Mr. Cummings participated in a wide variety of campus and SUNY activities and committees. He was a founding member and former President of what is now the State University Human Resources Association. He was the first recipient of SUNY's Edward S. Barber Award for Distinguished Personnel Service. In October 2010 he received a Certificate of Recognition from SUHRA for his 50 years of service to SUNY and SUHRA. He was especially proud of having helped and mentored a number of his colleagues who have gone on to establish their own records of success. In addition to his work for the State University, Mr. Cummings was involved with a variety of community activities. He served for six years on the 4-H Horse Project Advisory Committee for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County. This was followed by six years on the countywide 4-H Advisory Committee. During this time, he also served as the Advisory Committee's representative to the Board of Directors. Mr. Cummings concluded his volunteer service to Cornell Cooperative Extension by being elected to the Board of Directors, serving as Vice Chairman of the Board and Chair of the Personnel Committee. Mr. Cummings was also active for many years in the Maine Mavericks Horse Club serving several terms on their Board of Directors and several terms as Second Foreman. With his Australian Shepherds Cory and Dora, Mr. Cummings was an active participant in the areas therapy dog program. He also volunteered at dog bite prevention programs for area youth groups. Mr. Cummings loved to work on his horse farm (Kit-Mar Farm) and spent part of every summer putting in hay. He loved good music of all sorts and his tastes ranged from Dire Straits and Willie Nelson to Mozart and Bach. He especially loved opera and could be found listening to the opera broadcasts every Saturday afternoon. He also enjoyed reading and was especially fond of books about American history and U.S. presidents. Mr. Cummings was also an avid hockey fan. He loved to travel and during the course of his life went to Russia, Finland, Estonia, France, Scotland, China, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Belgium, Ukraine, and Sweden in addition to Canada and Mexico. Verna accompanied him on many of his travels and together they explored much of the U.S. Services will be held on Saturday June 21, 2014 at Laskowski Funeral Home, 367 Prospect St., Binghamton, NY 13905. Calling hours will be from 10am-1pm, followed by a memorial service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Colon Cancer Coalition (www.ColonCancerCoalition.org) or the Colon Cancer Alliance (www.ccalliance.org).
Laskowski Funeral Home
367 Prospect St. Binghamton, NY 13905
Published in Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin from May 25 to June 20, 2014