Deceased March 29, 2011
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Waldo Beaman "Wally" Cummings

Is there an Amherst gene? Consider Wally Cummings, who died March 29, 2011, aged 93. His Amherst family included two great-grandfathers, a grandfather, a brother, a son, an uncle, a nephew and a cousin.

In a wheelchair, Wally was one of only three alums attending their 70th reunion in 2008. And only four months before he died of a long illness, he and son Beaman ’67 drove from their ancestral home in West Boylston, Mass., to a Worcester pub for the televised Williams game.

“He was quiet, disciplined and stoic, as most New Englanders are,” Beaman told a Congregational church memorial service. “His superb example of what a man should be guided me throughout my life.”

Although as a U.S. Army first lieutenant he participated in assaults in New Guinea and the Philippines, he rarely mentioned it. At his snow-covered gravesite, two soldiers presented a flag to Beaman and Brad, his other son, and taps were played.

Both sons were with him when he died peacefully in his own bed.

Wally majored in economics and math, belonged to Theta XI fraternity, stage-managed the Masquers and was active in the Outing Club, ski team and Christian Association. An industrial-business career followed. He retired in 1981 as comptroller of Inland Steel Mining Company for which he worked in Kentucky, Canada and Minnesota. He held high office in the Kiwanis and was a passionate golfer.

Golf for him “was a game and not an exercise program,” Beaman said. “He would always drive his golf cart as close as possible to the ball, get out, hit the ball and proceed.”

His two wives, Esther Blackburn and Lois Minteer, predeceased him. Besides his two sons, survivors included a brother, Richard ’43; a sister, Elizabeth; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

George Bria ’38