GRAND PRAIRIE, TEXAS — John Sumner Cummings, a native of Auburn, son of William H. Cummings and Jane Glenola Wright Cummings, husband of Joan Borthwick Cummings and father of Christina Cummings Kang of Grand Prairie, Texas, and John S. Cummings Jr. of Washington, D.C., died Sunday, Nov. 26, at the age of 87, in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Cummings graduated from Edward Little High and Middlebury College. In 1955, he received a master’s degree in the geological sciences from Columbia University in New York City.
For many years he worked as an exploration geologist in various parts of the U.S. and Canada. In 1961, while on assignment in northern California, he married Joan C. Borthwick of New York City and Providence, R.I.
In 1963, Cummings returned to Maine and undertook a long-term search for copper-zinc deposits in the Maine wildlands. He and wife Joan raised their family in Bangor, where their children attended public schools.
Cummings is credited with the discovery in 1977 of the Bald Mountain Deposit, located in Aroostook County. Bald Mountain is the only world-class metal deposit ever discovered in New England. The Bald Mountain discovery resulted in dozens of national and international resource firms establishing offices in Maine for the purpose of exploring for copper-zinc massive sulphide deposits. Those actions created hundreds of jobs for technicians, skilled laborers and earth-science professionals.
In 1990, Cummings received accolades in the national mining press for a 298-page book dealing with the innovative chemical methods employed in his discovery of Bald Mountain and other metal deposits in Maine.
He was one of the founders and first chairman of the Maine Mineral Resources Association and was appointed by Gov. Joseph Brennan to the governor’s Mineral Policy Advisory Committee. On Jan. 7, 1980, he was recognized by the Maine Senate and House of Representatives for the discovery of the Bald Mountain Deposit.
Cummings’ two loves were his family and the Earth. During the years his children were attending Bangor schools, his non-working hours were devoted to them and his beloved wife. In retirement, he spent many pleasurable hours with grandson Jacob.
In addition to his wife, Joan, he is survived by grandson, Jacob Thomas Kang of Austin, Texas; daughter and son-in-law, Christina Cummings Kang and Steven D. Kang of Grand Prairie, Texas; son, John Sumner Cummings Jr. and his partner, Paul G. Poulin of Washington, D.C.; brother and sister-in-law, William and Lorraine Cummings and sister-in-law, Eleanor Cummings of Auburn; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by brother, Norman Cummings of Auburn, in 2015; and sister, Cynthia Williams of Corvalis, Ore., in 2016.
John S. Cummings