Duncan Cummings

Cummings, Duncan Charles passed away February 13, 2014 at Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico. He was born February 26, 1934 in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba so was just a few days short of his 80th birthday. He won awards for drawing in school. He moved to BC in 1945 at the age of 11 and lived with Grandpa and Grandma Anderson in North Vancouver. He was an avid outdoors person and was given a 22 rifle for his 12th birthday. He completed grade 10 in North Van.

When he was 15 or 16 he worked as a whistle punk at logging camps in Butte Inlet, Jervis Inlet, Tofino and Zeballos, so he took school by correspondence. His lifelong friends from that time were Ken Wallace and Torrance Johnston.

When he was about 18 he started working on trail maintenance and lookouts for the BC Forest Service in Lardeau and the following year in New Denver. At that time many Forest Service employees only worked five months a year so he spent that time in the Kootenays and 7 months on Vancouver Island. His last stint as a Forestry lookout man was 1956 and in 1959 -60 full time as a dispatcher. He loved his early years in the Service when he could be outdoors more than in an office.

As a BC Forest Ranger, Duncan was stationed at the Gray Creek Forestry Station for some years, living in the Reilly log house in Crawford Bay. He was also stationed at Kaslo, Lardeau, Beaverdell and Creston. He married his wife, Helen (McClure) before being transferred to Vancouver where he worked at the classic Marine Building which at that time shared with the Hotel Vancouver as two of the largest buildings in the city. His next station was the heavy snow country of Mica Creek and from there to Golden.

When he was the Ranger in Golden this probably included the work he enjoyed most – clearing out the trails in the Athabasca Pass area where the Committee’s Punchbowl is situated (from fur trade days) This required aluminum trail bridges taken in by helicopter, which needed a plywood rudder attached to control the load in the wind. His dogs were loved and his constant companions in the bush.

Duncan was shy, he was funny with a great sense of humor – a straight shooter from old times.

He was a fastidious woodworker and built their retirement home at Gray Creek entirely by himself – even to the kitchen cupboards.

He is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Helen, daughters Kelly, Dana and Lesley, and sons Guy, Jason and Sean,as well as 13 grandchildren and one great grandson.

Internment of ashes in the Gray Creek Cemetery will follow at a family event this summer.


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