Obituary: Bruce Keith Cummings

Bruce Cummings

Bruce Keith Cummings, 50, died Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010, in an aviation accident on Johnson Ridge in the Blue Mountains while flying his airplane to Enterprise. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21 at the Walla Walla University Seventh-day Adventist Church in College Place, Wash. Interment will follow at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in College Place.  

Mr. Cummings was born Aug. 11, 1960, in Walla Walla to Robert Samuel and Lola Irene Bingman Cummings, the youngest of six children. Growing up his family traveled to and from Alaska, commercial fishing in the Bristol Bay area with his father Bob. After his mother’s death of cancer in 1974, he and his brothers settled in the College Place area. He attended Walla Walla Valley Academy and in 1979 graduated from Walla Walla High School. In 1977 he met and fell in love with Marjorie Hoofard; they married in 1979 in Milton-Freewater.

He learned the techniques of the dental laboratory trade from his father-in-law, Floyd Hoofard, who owned Milton-Freewater Dental Lab. In 1981 the Cummings family returned to Alaska, where he opened his own dental laboratory, Soldotna Dental Technique.

He returned to college to pursue a degree in dentistry. He obtained a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University and pursed a doctorate in dentistry from Oregon Health & Science University, graduating with honors and awards in 1991. He opened his first dental practice in Alaska. He also joined the Soldotna Fire Department as a volunteer EMT and firefighter.

In 2000 he temporarily relocated his family to Battleground, Wash., while searching for his next practice setting. In 2001 the Cummings family moved to Enterprise, where he opened Wallowa Valley Dental Care; he practiced there until his death. He also purchased a farm several years ago in the Enterprise area. Immediately prior to his death he was working to relocate to Walla Walla to be closer to more of his family and to return to his roots.

Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Marjorie Cummings of Walla Walla; children Melissa Cummings-Hipple of Vancouver, Wash., and Samuel and Lola Cummings, both of Walla Walla; siblings Daina Winslow-Rogers of Salem, Laurie Cummings of La Grande, Steve Cummings of Benton City, Wash., Randy Cummings of Milton-Freewater, and Brent Cummings of Beaverton; father Bob Cummings of Woodland, Wash.; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Lola Irene Bingman-Cummings, and grandparents William Bingman and Alice Bingman.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Walla Walla University Church Pathfinders or the Cummings Children Education Fund through the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main, Milton-Freewater, OR 97862.

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