Charles's Story

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COLUMBUS, Ga. On Tuesday, July 11, 2017, "the greatest man on the planet" passed away, said the children of Charles Joseph Cumiskey. Charlie died at his home in Columbus, after a brief illness, surrounded by his adoring family. He would have been 91 on August 2nd.
Charlie is survived by his wife of 62 years, Eileen Chambers Cumiskey; his six children, son Charles Joseph Cumiskey Jr, (Mary Lynne Smisson Cumiskey) of Columbus; daughter, Jeanne Marie Cumiskey, of New Albany Ohio, daughter, Cecilia Cumiskey Powell (Dean Powell), of Hickory N.C., daughter, Katie Cumiskey Turner (Hooper A. Turner Jr) of Columbus; son, John Thomas Cumiskey (Leigh Pope Cumiskey) of Gainesville, and son, William Francis Cumiskey of Columbus. He is also survived by his nine grandchildren, Dean Powell (Jennifer) of Winston Salem N.C., Joseph Powell (Ashley) of Charlotte N.C., Rudi Cumiskey Pierson (Justin) of Columbus, Frannie Powell Benfield (Charlie) of Richmond Va., Charles J. Cumiskey III of Denver Colo., Ginny Turner of Columbus, Hooper Turner III of Columbus, Jack Cumiskey of Gainesville, and Tricia Cumiskey of Gainesville; as well as eight great-grandchildren, William, Joe, Sam, Reese, Griffin, Allie, Hunter and Libby.
Charlie was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings, Thomas Cumiskey of Cumberland, William Cumiskey, of Irving, Texas and Marie Cumiskey Miller of Cumberland.
Charlie was born on Aug. 2, 1926, in Cumberland, to Thomas B. and Cecilia Mills Cumiskey. He graduated from LaSalle High School in Cumberland in 1944. He was a proud World War II veteran serving in the United States Army Air Corp from 1945-1947. He received a BA from Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Va., in 1952 and a Master of Education from the College of William and Mary in 1962. After marrying Eileen Chambers, of Frostburg, in 1955, Mr. C., as he was known to countless students and campers, took a position with Norfolk Academy in Norfolk Va. He excelled as a teacher and coach, becoming Director of the Lower School and Athletic Director from 1952-1969. During his summer breaks, Charlie and Eileen would pack up their kids and head to summer camps as counselor and directors. From 1955 to 1965, it was to Camp Deerwood on Squam Lake in Holderness N.H., where Charlie was head of the waterfront and then to Camp Carysbrook in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Riner Va., where he and Eileen served as the directors until 1972. In 1969, Charlie became the headmaster of a newly formed private school, Carlisle, in Martinsville Va. During the next 11 years, Charlie transformed Carlisle School into a distinguished college preparatory school. In 1980, he was named Headmaster of Brookstone School in Columbus, where he applied his experience, creativity and motivational skills to invigorate the school's financial and educational standards. Upon his retirement from Brookstone in 1992, the Board of Directors recognized his outstanding contribution in every aspect of the school and added, in a proclamation, that his "most memorable and lasting contribution to Brookstone will be his belief in the potential of its students, both individually and as a body....and that he leaves Brookstone a far better place than it was when he arrived." An award in his honor is presented at every graduation to two seniors, one male and one female, who personify the spirit and integrity he helped build at Brookstone. He remained an active, visible presence at Brookstone until his death, attending every sporting and academic event, as well as all the graduations he could. He was a passionate, witty, dedicated, engaging mentor to all his kids, students and campers. Until his death he was returning almost every year as the special guest at alumni reunions. "Never met a bad kid" was his mantra and his gift for giving nicknames to his "kiddies" was legendary and considered an honor by those he bestowed a name. He retired from preparatory education in 1992, but shifting into quiet retirement would not be for Charlie. From 1992-1996, he served as Assistant Director in AFLAC's Major Market's Division for Education & Healthcare, in Columbus. In 1996 and 1997 he served as Assistant to the President of Uptown Columbus, Inc. and then from 1997-2001 became Columbus State's Education Coordinator for the Teacher Alternative Preparation Program, a Georgia P-16 initiative to fast track qualified candidates into the teaching field.
Beyond his careers, Charlie was also very civic oriented serving as President of Leadership Columbus Alumni; President of the Columbus Chapter Arthritis Foundation and Coordinator of Rotary Columbus Georgia Star Student Program. He was a member of The Columbus GA Chamber of Education Board, The Columbus GA 2000 task force, The Undergraduate Council, The Future Teacher Academy, Parish Council, Holy Family Church, Columbus, St. Patrick's School Board, Phenix City, Ala., Pastorial Council & School Board for Diocese of Richmond Va., St. Francis Hospital Foundation Board, Phi Delta Kappa, and member of the Southern Headmaster's Association. His awards and recognitions included being President of the Student body, Lynchburg College, 1951-52; named to the Who's Who in American Colleges in 1952; and elected to the Sports Hall of Fame, Lynchburg College 2000; but he considered his children with his beautiful wife, Eileen, his greatest accomplishment and reward. He was loved and respected by many but none greater than his family. He will be missed every hour of every day.
A Rosary will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, July 14, 2017, in Edgewood Hall of Striffler-Hamby, Columbus, with visitation to follow until 6:30 p.m.
A church service at Holy Family Catholic Church will be on Saturday, July 15, 2017, at 11 a.m. with a private interment at Parkhill Cemetery.
All are welcome to attend and celebrate Charlie Cumiskey's amazing life.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Holy Family Catholic Church; The Brookstone Schoo Scholarship or your favorite charity. The family would like to thank 1st Choice Homecare and Columbus Hospice for their kindness and dedication that made it possible to have him home during his final days.
Published on July 13, 2017
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