Charles Edward Cummings

Charles Edward Cummings, 78, of Wheelersburg, Ohio, passed away on Tuesday (June 25, 2013) at SOMC Hospice in Portsmouth, Ohio.

He was born on Oct. 4, 1934, in Huntington, W.Va., to the late Ewell Edwin and Exenia Adkins Cummings. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a niece Holly Konoza.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in speech and drama in the Teachers College of Marshall University and his master’s in education at Morehead State University. He taught at Duval (WV) High School, Rock Hill (OH) High School, and at Paul Blazer High School and Ashland Community College in Ashland, Ky. He was a veteran of the Korean conflict.

He was well known in the Kentucky/Ohio/West Virginia Tri-State region for his work in theatre. In a career that spanned nearly 60 years, he participated as an actor or director in more than 100 plays. His early work included a leading role in “You Can’t Take It with You” at Huntington East High School. Subsequently, he worked in Huntington in productions at Marshall University, at the Abbott Theater with the Community Players, and with the Musical Arts Guild. In Ashland he was a founding member of the Performing Arts Guild (Ashland Theatre Guild) and also worked with the Ashland Community College Theater. In Portsmouth, Ohio, he worked with the Little Theater, Shawnee State University Theater, the Southern Ohio Museum, and the Southern Ohio Light Opera (SOLO). He performed in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in summer stock at the Merry-Go-Round Theatre. He received the B.P.O.E. “Elk of the Year” Award from the Kentucky Elks Association for his staging of the Ashland Elks’ Anniversary Celebration in 1976. In his last role he played the legendary Branch Rickey in a one-man show, Jerry Holt’s “Rickey,” which he performed in local venues and also for several seasons on the RiverBarge’s River Explorer cruises. Favorite roles were Tom in “The Glass Menagerie,” Biff in “Death of a Salesman,” Chief in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” and Ali Hakim in “Oklahoma.” Among his favorite plays to direct were Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” male and female versions.

He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Elizabeth Bowling Cummings; a son, Kelly Paul Cummings of Marietta; a granddaughter, Madison Margaret Cummings of Charlotte, N.C.; a brother, Darwin D. (Kathryn) Cummings of North Wales, Pa.; nieces, Cathy (Timothy) Damico of North Wales, Pa., and Deborah Boorse of Allentown, Pa.; and a number of grand-nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday (June 29, 2013) at Steen Funeral Home-13th Street Chapel at 4 p.m. Family will receive friends from 2 p.m. until service time. The family requests that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to local Hospices.

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