Gregory A. Cummings, 89, Fountain Hills, Ariz., passed peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.
Greg was born Aug.10, 1931 in St. Paul, Minn., to Kenneth and Mary (Janzen) Cummings. He grew up and attended schools in Aitkin, and graduated from Aitkin High School in 1949. He attended Brainerd Jr. College and graduated from St. John’s University of Collegeville in 1956 after serving in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.
When Greg was 5 years old, he developed a crush on a cute girl from Aitkin. He declared that he was going to marry that girl. That girl was indeed his future wife, Nancy Hobbins. After Greg and Nancy graduated from college, they reconnected and before long, their romance blossomed. Greg and Nancy were united in marriage on Sept. 27, 1958 in Aitkin. The couple made their homes in Minneapolis and Little Falls before moving to Rapid City, S.D. in February 1970. Together they raised four children and were blessed with 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They also spent 26 years enjoying wonderful desert winters together in Fountain Hills, Ariz. Before Nancy’s passing in December 2014, they had celebrated 56 years of marriage. It isn’t often that a person gets another chance at finding another life companion, but Greg did just that. Greg’s second love of his life, Ellie Kiewel, came into Greg’s life in 2016 and they have been inseparable since.
He started his insurance career with Insurance Company of North America in 1956 in Minneapolis and eventually joined Kluthe & Lane Insurance in Rapid City in January 1970. In 1981, he and business partner, Ross Roll, formed the Cummings & Roll Insurance Agency and eventually purchased agencies in Deadwood, Belle Fouche, Spearfish, Custer, Sioux Falls, S.D., Missoula and Great Falls, Mont., and Phoenix, Ariz.
In 28 years of successfully serving the insurance needs of South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, he also served on a number of local/national boards and positions. Greg was an active member of the Rapid City business community. He was a long-time member of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce and a 30-year member and multi-year president of the Rapid City Cosmopolitan Club. He served on the board of the American Cancer Society and was a member and one-year president of the United Way. With Greg’s love of the outdoors, Greg was a 20-year member of the Western South Dakota Buckaroos. This organization brings businessmen and ranchers together to soak in the good that comes from the great outdoors of Western South Dakota. Greg was also a member of Arrowhead Country Club, Society of Certified Insurance Counselors, Independent Insurance Agents of SD, Rapid City Elks Lodge #1187 and Blessed Sacrament Church.
Greg was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy; brothers, William (Bill) Cummings, Patrick Cummings; sister, Mary Ethel “Echo” Welshons; brother-in-law, Michael Ryan; sisters-in-law Jeanine Hawkins, Bonnie Montero and Patty Nelson.
Greg is survived by his wife Ellie Kiewel, Fountain Hills, Ariz.; daughters and sons-in-law, Katie (George) Csiba, Newbury, Ohio; Anne (Perry) Schmidt, Wayzata; sons and daughters-in-law Kevin (Nancy) Cummings, Phoenix, Ariz.; and Michael (Megan) Cummings, Littleton, Colo.; 11 grandchildren: Megan, Olivia, Ellen, Kristine, Mitchell, Emily, Bill, Michael, Ava, Molly and Rachel; one great-grandchild Charlie; brothers and sisters Patrick (Brenda) Cummings, Becker; Judy Ryan, Aitkin; Kay (Dick) Breen, Brainerd; and Kevin (Faunille) Cummings, Deadwood, S.D.; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He’ll be forever remembered for his love of family, hunting, fishing and raising his children to appreciate the natural beauty around them. As Greg would say to his children countless times, he truly is “home again, home again jiggety-jig.” See you on the flip side Dad!
There will be a funeral Mass at the Church of the Ascension in Fountain Hills, Ariz., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020 at 11 a.m. and a Mass at St. James Catholic Church in Aitkin at 11 a.m. followed by a graveside service at St. Thomas Cemetery, also in Aitkin, Sept. 12, 2020. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any memorial contributions be made to Hospice of the Valley, Phoenix, AZ, www.hov.org/donate.