Obituary of James H. Cummings II
Born and raised in Glendale, CA by Howard Mead Cummings and Edna Fay Cummings. He graduated from Glendale High School, attended Glendale College before entering the University of Oregon as a pre-medical student. In 1961 he decided to enter the Naval Airforce Academy graduating in 1963. His love for flying came to life soon thereafter where he acquired his private pilot license. When he was 27 years old, one day after purchasing his first plane, he realized mid-flight he was out of gas and had to force land on Aliso Beach in South Laguna Beach. He stated to the newspaper: “the forced landing really didn’t shake me up too much but it sure does get quiet up there when the engine quits.” Apparently, the gas gauge was broken. As a bachelor, he lived in Laguna Beach where he started his career as a developer, jeweler and sculptor. For five years he designed homes with Charles Johnson and Ib Christian Abel. His first spec house, designed by Abel, was featured on the cover of Los Angeles Times “Home Magazine” section in July 1972. He built three beautiful spec homes with Abel in Laguna Beach and also opened his Sculptural Design retail store on Forest Avenue. While working in Laguna Beach, he met his future wife from The Netherlands, they married 6 months later and moved to The Sea Ranch in 1971. He designed most of his jewelry and sculptures from nature and got much of his inspiration from the rock formations and creations the Pacific Ocean had inflicted over the years on the cliffs and beaches along the North coast. The rest of his creations came from his undeniable imagination. His forms are dynamic and fluid. In perpetual motion. In 1979 he moved his family to Santa Rosa and continued his body of work for the next 40 years. After moving to Santa Rosa he studied the writings of Andrew Galambos, a philosopher-physicist. Based on those studies, he decided to dedicate himself entirely to the creation of forms that would bring attention to men of genius who have had significant impact on modern life and culture but have not been adequately recognized and honored. While at the peak of his own creative power and career, he came across a Southwest artist body of work named George Winslow Blodgett. He decided to invest his time, talent and money to resurrect and preserve the work of a “rival” sculptor as he was so faithful to the growing tradition among Southwest artists - preserving and promoting the artistry of others. When he made his pledge to preserve Blodgett’s work, he knew nothing of the artist’s background, his triumphs and failures. He knew only that he was in the presence of a great sculptor. Traveling in the early 80’s, he met two amazing marble sculptors from Carrara, Italy named Pasquino and Enzo Pasquini. He fell in love with their sculptures and knew he was, again, in the presence of great sculptors and artisans. A very deep friendship soon transpired between them and they taught him how to carve marble during his six weeks stay in Italy. After some time, they pantographed five of his bronze sculptures five times the size in pure white Carrara marble in which he hand selected from the quarry of Michelangelo. Each sculpture stands 9-1/2 feet tall weighing 2500 pounds. James was truly a renaissance man with many great talents, knowledge and passions including his beautiful jewelry, artwork, classical piano compositions, immaculate gardens, medical research, love for tennis and golf, joy for Texas Holdem and his lifelong quest to learn Italian with his wife and his favorite Italian group. I am sure this will come to no surprise that his Italian name for all of those years was “Leonardo”. He will be remembered for many things, but what will standout to most is his creativeness, kindness, honestly, reputation, loyalty and his desire to honor great men of science and art. He always believed that the human race cannot survive unless it supports and preserves the work of its artists and scientists, living and dead. In this sometimes-lonely struggle lies mankind’s salvation. Living 80 amazing years, James’ life came to an abrupt end fighting Pancreatic Cancer. James will be greatly missed by his wife Anna of 50 years and his children, Shane Demian Cummings (wife Anne), Arlette Yvonne Cummings and grand dogs Thalia and Teddy. His family is grateful to Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hospice and Truhealth for all of their kind and compassionate care. Family and friends are encouraged to visit the website www.srmel.com to view more details. A celebration of life will be held at a later date when we can all safely gather.
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