He was born in Anaconda, Montana on June 29, 1941 to Edward J. Cummings and Charlotte Ely Cummings. He attended St. Peter’s grade school and graduated from Anaconda High School as an honor student and class president.
He was an outstanding football athlete and attended Stanford University on an athletic scholarship. Because of his success on the football field, he received numerous awards, earning first team All America honors as a fullback in 1962. In 2005, he was inducted into the Stanford Football Hall of Fame.
After graduating from Stanford, he completed a graduate degree in Sociology from Columbia University. While in New York, he played professional football briefly for the New York Giants, then a year for the New York Jets. He finished his professional football career spending two years with the Denver Broncos.
He had married his college sweetheart, Mary Balch, and they moved to Missoula, Montana where he earned a law degree from the University of Montana. Ed and Mary had two beautiful daughters, Kelle and Holly. He practiced law as a personal injury attorney until 1986 when he changed career paths and purchased a cattle ranch between Kootenai Creek and Bass Creek near Stevensville. He had long dreamed of having a ranch of his own, having spent summers on his uncle’s ranch in eastern Montana.
In 1973, he married Carole Stoenner and they had three sons, Joe, Chris and Michael, and one daughter, Megan. He loved the land and the challenges of ranch life, but also felt a strong responsibility to support his church and community. He was a catechism tutor, confirmation teacher, and member of the Cemetery Board at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He was so fond of his church family and rarely missed the Coffee Hour after Mass. He served on the Stevensville School Board and the Ravalli County Planning Board. Ed was a fierce supporter of youth and had a soft heart for any one he felt was an outsider or an underdog.
As much as he enjoyed the attention he received from his football career, he wanted more to be remembered for providing first jobs for the youth in the area as ranch workers. Over the years, he had hired over75 young people including all of his children and most of his grandchildren. His advice to youth, in any endeavor, was to stop and “THINK” and when things became difficult and
challenging…”JUST KEEP WORKING.”
Having meaningful work was most important to Ed, but he also loved to read and was very fond of poetry, especially Robert Service and Robert Frost. His children remember his many memorized recitations of “The Highwayman” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee.”
He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter Megan. He is survived by his wife, Carole, his daughter Kelle Bradshaw (Stuart; grandchildren: Levi, Athena, Cameron, Zoe and Isaac; great grandchildren Aurora and Jonah), daughter Holly Carnes (grandchildren Sam and Andi), son, Joe (Tammi; grandchildren Mackenzie, Charlotte, Kirk and Annabelle), son Chris and his wife Sarah, son Michael (Jerika; grandchildren Quinn and Wyatt)
He leaves his family the memories of his strong will, his strong faith, his amazing work ethic, his unique perspective on all matters, and his many efforts to do what he believed was right and fair.
There will be a private Burial Rite on Friday, October 2, followed by a family gathering at the ranch. Because of Covid restrictions, it is not possible to have a traditional public funeral. To honor Ed’s life, the family would welcome written memories mailed to 237 Schearbrook Lane, Stevensville, MT 59870. Memorials may be made to Pantry Partners, 3614 ALC Way, Stevensville, MT 59870. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.
Just think! some night the stars will gleam
Upon a cold, grey stone,
And trace a name with silver beam,
And lo! ‘twill be your own.
That night is speeding on to greet
Your epitaphic rhyme.
Your life is but a little beat
Within the heart of Time.
A little gain, a little pain,
A laugh, lest you may moan;
A little blame, a little fame,
A star-gleam on a stone.