Cummins, Cecil Stratford

Cecil Stratford Cummins
Cecil Stratford Cummins

Cecil Stratford Cummins, 90, of Blacksburg, passed away Friday, Oct. 30, after a brief illness.  Born Nov. 20, 1918 at Monkstown, County Cork, Ireland, he was the son of the late James Stratford and Helena Fanny Cummins.  He is survived by his son James Marshall of Bozeman Mt., his son-in-law G. Dean Trimble, of Blacksburg, granddaughter Kelsey Morag Patricia Trimble, of Blacksburg, three brothers and sisters-in-law, Brian, of Wheddon Cross, Minehead, Somerset, UK; Nicholas “Lee” and his wife, Liz, of St. Gennys, Bude, Cornwall, UK; and Matthew and his wife Sheelagh, Loughbrickland, County Down, Northern Ireland, and nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his wife Morag Fraser Cameron who died in 1992 and daughter Patricia Morag Trimble, who died in 1990.

Known to all his friends as Snick, he attended the College of St. Columba at Rathfarnham and in 1941 earned the BSC at Trinity College, Dublin.  He earned the medical degree in 1943 and was awarded the Sc.D. in 1964 at Trinity College.

He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a pathologist in Egypt and Palestine from 1944 to 1947, assigned to the British Military Hospitals at Haifa, and Bir Yakov in Palestine.  He did research and teaching at London Hospital Medical College from 1948 to 1967.

His research work on cell wall structure was considered pioneering.  In 1956 he published the first major paper about the use of cell wall composition as a taxonomic indicator.  In 1960 he was invited to be a visiting research fellow at Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago.

In 1967 he was invited to join the faculty of the Anaerobe Laboratory at Virginia Tech where he continued research on taxonomy of anaerobic organisms.  The results of his work were published in the journals of the American Society for Microbiology.  Among the honors for his work was having a species named for him-Arthrobacter cumminsii.  He retired from Virginia Tech in 1989.

Memorial services were conducted Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 3 p.m. in the Christ Episcopal Church with the Rev. Scott West officiating.

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