Mark Sill Cummins
Dr. Mark Sill Cummins passed away on October 31, 2018 in the arms of his loving wife at their home in St. Bruno, QC. He will be fondly remembered by his wife, Susan Hunt Cummins (Susie) and children, Colin Hunt Cummins and Emily Cummins-Woods (Alice Robinette-Woods) and his grandchildren Benjamin and Daniel Woods, his brothers Bruce Cummins (Chicago) and Paul Cummins and wife Melanie (Virginia), his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Johnny and Joann Hunt (Pennsylvania) as well as all the friends, extended family, colleagues, students and clients who were touched by the life and lessons of an inspiring man.
Mark was born 70 years ago in Chicago to Joan Sill Cummins and Dr. Clyde Robert Cummins. He graduated from Williams College in Psychology and obtained his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1975. McGill University then engaged him to teach psychology as well as live with and study vervet monkeys on the jungle and cane field island of St. Kitts. He had married the love of his life by then, living many adventures with Susie over their almost 50 years together. They became dedicated inhabitants of the Montreal region, learned French as adults, and developed a strong community of friends and colleagues.
A professor at McGill and Dawson College for almost 40 years, Mark’s students loved his sense of humour and thorough teaching methods. He saw the potential in them and expected them to work hard and achieve that potential. He also became a clinical psychologist early on with a dedicated client base in both St. Bruno and in Montreal. He was recognized as one of the three top marriage counsellors in Montreal, truly loving his work and caring about his clients’ journeys. Mark was still seeing clients up until the end.
Known for his strong will and tough love, he was also unfailingly caring and supportive, showing up to everyone’s vernissages, plays and games. He offered the best bear hugs, cried easily when moved, and listened fully while looking at you with his clear, open eyes. Always a voracious reader of many genres of books, Mark loved to grapple with the big questions, appreciated a lively debate and enthusiastically absorbed history, stories and information wherever he could.
Mark also had many talents and interests. If he couldn’t do something yet, he would figure out how! He was an amateur magician and former football player, able to cane chairs, be a perfect Santa impersonator, do wood working (by hand and machine) and practice his pastel and drawing skills. He even did eight years of adult Ballet lessons!
More than anything, Mark loved being a Dad and Grandpa and being close and involved with his children. He got so much joy from taking his kids and grandkids into the exciting woodshop or reading to them on his comforting lap. A teacher through and through, he passed on a love of learning to his offspring, and so many practical and subtle life skills.
Gentle and strong, brilliant and grounded, Mark affected the lives of so many of us. We miss him very much. [Montreal Gazette, November 3, 2018]