Frank L. Cummings, 90, founded chemical company

June 16, 2005

Frank L. Cummings, a retired founder and former owner of a Baltimore chemical and container company who served as a World War II naval officer aboard destroyers in the Atlantic and Pacific, died in his sleep June 7 at Charlestown Retirement Community. He was 90.

Born and raised in Baltimore, he was a son of the owner of the old Melvale Distillery, producer of Maryland rye whiskey.

"He was the seventh of eight children and was born right on the kitchen table at his family's home at 15 W. Mulberry St.," said his son, the Rev. Carl F. Cummings, pastor of St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Catonsville.

Mr. Cummings was a 1931 graduate of Loyola High School, where he was captain of the swim team and played varsity tennis. After earning his bachelor's degree in 1935 from Loyola College, where he was captain of the swim team, he swam competitively and won numerous South and Middle Atlantic championships.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1940 and served as a communications officer aboard the USS Sturdevant in convoy duty, and the Knight in the Allied invasion of North Africa. In the Pacific, he served on the Haas.

He was in the Naval Reserve until 1974, when he retired with the rank of commander.

After the war, he became Maryland sales manager for the Ediphone dictating machine and later a distributor for Bardahl, manufacturer of additives and automotive lubricants, and A.L. Webb & Son, sellers of varnishes and shellac. He established Cummings Chemical and Container Co. in 1965, and retired and sold it in 1985.

He enjoyed travel and continued swimming and playing tennis until his late 80s.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Monday at his son's church.

Survivors also include his wife of 62 years, the former Marian B. Prior; a daughter, Marga C. Hill of Medina, Ohio; and four grandchildren.

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