Men at Work Revisited
Cummings Men at Work
My Grandmother collected separately, pictures of the men in her life while at work, along with their business cards. When she passed away in 1996, maybe because I was the last to contribute a card, my mother passed the collection to me. Since the internet had just become all the rage, I decided to display the collection on our old static HTML photo webpage. Questioning my mother in order to write the goofy captions is what started this never ending family history search.
In 1880, George Wesley Dutcher was farming his own land in Clinton County, Michigan, along with his wife Jennie and their sons Claude 3 years old and Clarence,who had just been born in April.
George’s son Claud Dutcher, too had always worked his own farm, I imagine he didn’t want to work for someone else, so he started his own business hanging wallpaper.
Daisy Dutcher married Cortez Cummings in the 20’s, he like everyone else in Michigan worked most often at “the plant” when there was work available.
But Cortez was a tech nerd back in the day, he was in on the ground floor of all the new gadgets, like refrigerators! and of course the new fangled radio sets, he realized that gave him an opportunity to start his own business.
In 1939 he moved the family to the nearby small town of St. Johns. There, in order to introduce himself and the business to the community, he and his family joined the Methodist church and he joined the Odd Fellows and of course his wife Daisy joined the Rebekah club.
To make his struggling business pay the bills, the family lived in a small room behind the shop, by this time, their family, was complete with two daughters Bertha Claudia and Patricia Ann and two sons Cortez Henry Jr.(Junior) and Franklin James. (pictured Pearl Cummings(Cortez’s Stepmother), Patricia Ann and Junior)
Troubleshooting peoples radio sets in those days presented a problem because most of the stations had weak signals, Cortis would have to make his service calls in the evening when the atmosphere allowed Los Angeles Radio station, KFI with its massive 50,000 watt signal (still one of the strongest in the country) to travel to Michigan.
At least good help was easy to find during the depression.
But by June of 1944 with World War II still raging on, Cortez and Daisy auctioned off all of their furniture and loaded the kids in the Buick and hit route 66, moving to California to help the war effort, working in the aircraft factories.
Cortez Jr’s (“Hank”) first job in the US Navy was as a fireman below decks, years later he would tell how miserably hot it was down there and how he waited for that enlistment to end. Hank soon re-enlisted as an IC man and became a Chief in on-board interior communications.
Franklin James Cummings was Cortis and Daisy’s second son. He worked as a Machinist, he was of course the best in the shop. He worked nights, so during the day he was available to take care of kids which he did by teaching Bible school, card games, chess and auto shop.
When Hank Cummings retired from the Navy, he like his father and grandfather before him, started his own company. As a construction electrician, he took Cummings Electric from installing a plug for a lady’s vacuum in her hallway, to large projects at Sea World, San Diego.
Lawrence Paul Bergeron, first son of Patrica Ann Cummings, served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War, in Holland.
Today Larry runs his own landscaping business in California.
Patricia Ann’s son Randall McKay Cummings did his duty in the US Air Force during the cold war under Reagan. He served in the U.K. during the Falklands War.
Hank had taught Randy the electrical trade, so when the time came, he became owner of Cummings Electric.
Randy and his wife Leilani’s son Brian Andrew Cummings served as a distinguished member of the US Army. Brian spent his tenure in Washington D.C.. At Arlington National Cemetery he helped to lead the nation in remembering our fallen heroes and lay to rest those who had served. His hard work led him to be chosen as a member of the elite US Army Drill Team.
It was only natural that with his duty to his country complete, Brian would return to the family business.
With Brian, a fourth generation electrician and a descendant of at least 5 generations of entrepreneurial spirit, it is yet to be seen where the Cummings name will go.
Thanks to the Daisy Alice Dutcher Cummings Collection of business cards and photos.
Thank You to Patricia Ann Cummings Bergeron for all her fact checking.
This was written originally in 2001 in HTML 1.0 and is in the process of being rewritten