Charles Joseph Cumiskey

August 2, 1926July 11, 2017

On July 11, 2017, “the greatest man on the planet” passed away, said the children of Charles Joseph Cumiskey. Charlie died at his home in Columbus, Georgia, after a brief illness, surrounded by his adoring family. He would have been 91 on August 2nd. Charlie is survived by his wife of 62 years, Eileen Chambers Cumiskey, his six children, son Charles Joseph Cumiskey, Jr, (Mary Lynne Smisson Cumiskey) of Columbus GA, daughter Jeanne Marie Cumiskey, of New Albany OH, daughter Cecilia Cumiskey Powell (Dean Powell), of Hickory NC, daughter Katie Cumiskey Turner (Hooper A. Turner, Jr) of Columbus GA; son John Thomas Cumiskey (Leigh Pope Cumiskey) of Gainesville GA; and son William Francis Cumiskey of Columbus GA. He is also survived by his nine grandchildren Dean Powell (Jennifer) of Winston Salem NC; Joseph Powell (Ashley) of Charlotte NC; Rudi Cumiskey Pierson (Justin) of Columbus GA; Frannie Powell Benfield (Charlie) of Richmond VA; Charles J. Cumiskey, III of Denver CO; Ginny Turner of Columbus GA; Hooper Turner, III of Columbus GA; Jack Cumiskey of Gainesville GA and Tricia Cumiskey of Gainesville GA; as well as eight great grandchildren, William, Joe, Sam, Reese, Griffin, Allie, Hunter and Libby. Charlie was preceded in death by his parents and three siblings: Thomas Cumiskey of Cumberland MD; William Cumiskey, of Irving TX; and Marie Cumiskey Miller of Cumberland MD. Charlie was born on August 2, 1926 in Cumberland, Maryland to Thomas B. and Cecilia Mills Cumiskey. He graduated from LaSalle High School in Cumberland in 1944. He was a proud WWII veteran serving in the United States Army Air Corp from 1945-1947. He received a BA from Lynchburg College, Lynchburg VA in 1952 and a Master of Education from the College of William and Mary in 1962. After marrying Eileen Chambers, of Frostburg, Maryland, in 1955, Mr. C, as he was known to countless students and campers, took a position with Norfolk Academy in Norfolk VA. He excelled as a teacher and coach, becoming Director of the Lower School and Athletic Director from 1952-1969. During his summer breaks, Charlie and Eileen would pack up their kids and head to summer camps as counselor and directors. From 1955 to 1965, it was to Camp Deerwood on Squam Lake in Holderness NH, where Charlie was head of the waterfront and then to Camp Carysbrook in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Riner VA, where he and Eileen served as the directors until 1972. In 1969, Charlie became the headmaster of a newly formed private school, Carlisle, in Martinsville VA. During the next 11 years, Charlie transformed Carlisle School into a distinguished college preparatory school. In 1980, he was named Headmaster of Brookstone School in Columbus GA, where he applied his experience, creativity and motivational skills to invigorate the school’s financial and educational standards. Upon his retirement from Brookstone in 1992, the Board of Directors recognized his outstanding contribution in every aspect of the school and added, in a proclamation, that his “most memorable and lasting contribution to Brookstone will be his belief in the potential of its students, both individually and as a body….and that he leaves Brookstone a far better place than it was when he arrived”. An award in his honor is presented at every graduation to two seniors, one male and one female, who personify the spirit and integrity he helped build at Brookstone. He remained an active, visible presence at Brookstone until his death, attending every sporting and academic event, as well as all the graduations he could. He was a passionate, witty, dedicated, engaging mentor to all his kids, students and campers. Until his death he was returning almost every year as the special guest at alumni reunions. “Never met a bad kid” was his mantra and his gift for giving nicknames to his “kiddies” was legendary and considered an honor by those he bestowed a name. He retired from preparatory education in 1992, but shifting into quiet retirement would not be for Charlie. From 1992-1996 he served as Assistant Director in AFLAC’s Major Market’s Division for Education & Healthcare, in Columbus GA. In 1996 & 1997 he served as Assistant to the President of Uptown Columbus, Inc and then from 1997-2001 became Columbus State’s Education Coordinator for the Teacher Alternative Preparation Program, a Georgia P-16 initiative to fast track qualified candidates into the teaching field. Beyond his careers, Charlie was also very civic oriented serving as President of Leadership Columbus Alumni; President of the Columbus GA Chapter Arthritis Foundation and Coordinator of Rotary Columbus Georgia Star Student Program. He was a member of: The Columbus GA Chamber of Education Board; The Columbus GA 2000 task force; The Undergraduate Council; The Future Teacher Academy; Parish Council, Holy Family Church, Columbus GA; St. Patrick’s School Board, Phenix City, AL; Pastorial Council & School Board for Diocese of Richmond VA; St. Francis Hospital Foundation Board; Phi Delta Kappa; and, member of the Southern Headmaster’s Association. His awards and recognitions included being President of the Student body, Lynchburg College, 1951-52; named to the Who’s Who in American Colleges in 1952; and elected to the Sports Hall of Fame, Lynchburg College 2000; but he considered his children with his beautiful wife Eileen, his greatest accomplishment and reward. He was loved and respected by many but none greater than his family. He will be missed every hour of every day. A Rosary will be held at 4:30pm on Friday, July 14, 2017 in Edgewood Hall of Striffler-Hamby Columbus, with visitation to follow until 6:30pm. A church service at Holy Family Catholic Church will be on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 11:00am with a private interment at Parkhill Cemetery. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Charlie Cumiskey’s amazing life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Holy Family Catholic Church; The Brookstone School Scholarship or your favorite charity. The family would like to thank 1st Choice Homecare and Columbus Hospice for their kindness and dedication that made it possible to have him home during his final days.


  • Rosary/Visitation

    Friday, July 14, 2017

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, July 15, 2017


Charles Joseph Cumiskey

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tim Irvine

October 27, 2017

You know a man had an impact when sixty years later a guy in Texas looks him up, reads of his moving on to greater glory, and gives thanks for him. Tim Irvine, another who knew Mr. C at Norfolk Academy

July 27, 2017

My sincere sympathy goes out to the family at this most difficult time. Charlie was an excellent educator who loved seeing his students succeed in life. He always had a kind word for all he came in contact with. He was a true southern gentleman!

Jimmy Motos

July 27, 2017

My deepest sympathy goes out to the family during this most difficult time. Charlie was an outstanding educator loved seeing his students succeed in life. He was a true southern gentleman!

Helen Kurtz

July 25, 2017

Our deepest sympathy on learning of Charlie's passing . Our thoughts and prayers are with you .
May he rest in peace .
Charles & Helen Kurtz

Elisabeth (Lizzard) Tavss

July 18, 2017

Ah - Mr. Cumiskey was one of my all time favorites! I think fondly about the days at Carlisle School where Mr. C. had such a huge presence and impact! He was a great jokester, but also was passionate and serious about what was important. He will be remembered and missed!

Jim Nelson

July 18, 2017

I have nothing but golden memories of Mr. C. during my years at Norfolk Academy. Over the years I have come to realize what a tremendous impact he had on my life. I have always hoped that my children and grandchildren would have a teacher like him, but he was truly one of a kind. The Cumiskeys were a wonderful and powerful team. His was truly a life well lived. His death leaves a void for many of us, but especially his family.God be with the Cumiskey family.

Jim (Rocky) Nelson
Madison, VA

Ralph Illges

July 18, 2017

I too am saddened by the passing of Charlie. As a young man, I had the pleasure of working alongside Charlie at Brookstone. His words of encouragement and his unsurpassed enthusiasm were a blessing to me and to many others. He made our jobs infinitely easier because he was so supportive and encouraging. Nothing but happy memories of this wonderful man.

July 16, 2017

I am saddened by the death of Charlie, but I have so many strong, wonderful memories of him at Norfolk Academy. He was truly one of the greatest men on the planet. My sympathy goes out to the entire family.

Sunny Wooden, NA '62

Thomas and Patricia Wigger

July 14, 2017

Condolences,love and prayers.Tom and Pat Wigger.Cumberland,Md.(Patsy Miller)

Sandra McCann

July 14, 2017

Chuck and Mary Lynne,

We were saddened to read of the death of your father. He was truly one of a kind...a life well-lived. Our girls thought the world of him, as did so many. I remember that he said he nearly drove off the road when he heard that Catherine was the Star Student of GA. He never stopped caring about "his kids."

I am sorry that we are unable to attend the funeral.


Sandy and Martin McCann


Learn more about the Cumiskey name