The following article was written for a recent Juniper Berry and with all the confusion that September 11th caused it was inadvertently omitted. It was written with the respect and admiration we all had for Mary Cummins. We apologize for the oversight. Lorraine Sciulli
Our neighborhood lost an icon recently. Mary Cummins former President of the Juniper Park Civic Association and community activist for many years, passed away.
I knew Mary since the late 1970's when I was thrust into the civic arena via the problems in Juniper Valley Park. When I first went to a civic meeting to complain about the park, Mary Cummins looked at me and said, “My dear, we've never seen you before, now you have a problem and you want action immediately?” All I thought at the time was “ouch” she really knows how to embarrass you but you know what, that was the start of a friendship and a long civic career for me. She got me mad enough
to understand that if you want something done you better be prepared to get out there to do it yourself. She always said that the key to civic success was persistence, “You wear them out so they just don't want to look at you anymore!” I learned that
lesson well, thanks Mary.
Mary served on Community Board 5 and she had a very notable career on the District 24 School Board. She practically
single handedly took down then School Chancellor, Joseph Fernandez, in the “Rainbow Curriculum” controversy. She was ridiculed in the newspapers for being a Catholic and an older woman and through it all her dedicated persistence prevailed. (Back in those days, the early 1980's, gender and religious ridicule were more readily tolerated. I guess you can say, we've come a long way.)
I could go on with many stories about Mary's civic life but in the interest of brevity I would have to say that whether you agreed with her or not you had to respect her relentless, tireless pursuit of achieving her goals. She was focused and rarely wavered from her conservative roots. In every way she personified what this great country called America is all about.
Our community was so lucky to have a Mary Cummins in its midst and believe me, heaven will never be the same! She's making a racket up there right now; God has a new challenge!
We know she will be sorely missed by her beloved daughter, Judy and grandson, Frank and all who were fortunate enough to know her.
Rest in peace Mary Cummins, you definitely made a difference and you will be missed.