Arky Cummings

The entire Winthrop community was saddened to learn this week of the passing of Arthur E. “Arky” Cummings at the age of 85.

Yet despite our sadness, we are sure that all of us who knew Arky soon wore a smile as we thought back to our memories of this wonderful man, who was among the most-respected and beloved members of our town for generations.

It may sound trite to say so, but we never met anybody who ever had an unkind word to say about Arky. The deep respect and — dare we say it — love that he engendered among all who came to know him, whether as a family member, a teacher, a colleague, or a friend, truly cannot be put into words.

As the driving force for the construction of the new elementary schools in our town 20 years ago, one of which fittingly bears his name, Arky was the perfect choice to head up the School Building Committee because there was no one –and we do mean no one else — who could command the respect of both the proponents and opponents of what at the time was a very controversial undertaking.

That’s because after more than 30 years as a teacher and administrator in the Winthrop school system, everyone knew that Arky Cummings had only one goal in mind namely, the best interests of Winthrop schoolchildren and our community-at-large.

Arky’s dogged determination to convince his fellow residents of the need for new schools eventually paid off with voter approval of the projects. His efforts not only have benefited Winthrop schoolchildren for the past 15 years, but will continue to do so for the next few generations to come, which is a fitting legacy to the devotion and dedication to our town’s children that Arky exemplified throughout his entire career.

Yet, despite his many accomplishments as a school administrator and dedicated public servant, his greatest impact was upon the thousands of children whom he mentored in his math classes over the years in the Winthrop schools. When we hear the personal testimonials from some of his former students about the impact he had on their lives, we think of the words of the poet Wordsworth:

‘The best portion of a good man’s life:

 his little, nameless unremembered

acts of kindness and love.’

Arthur Cummings was a Winthrop guy through-and-through, a fixture at WHS sporting events and at town social gatherings with his beloved wife of 59 years, Barbara (who passed away two years ago). His presence among us will be sorely missed.

We know we join with all of our fellow residents in offering our condolences to Arky’s family. May he rest in peace.

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