Shirley Spencer Cummings

May 4, 1938October 9, 2020

Born May 4, 1938 Died October 9, 2020 Shirley Spencer Cummings, peacefully passed away surrounded by family members on Friday October 9, 2020. In her lifetime she went by many names, Mrs. Cummings, Shirley, Spence, Mom, Grandma, Grammie, Daughter, Sister, Neighbor and even Mariah. She was an elementary school teacher for 24 years in the East Lansing district, touching the lives of countless students at both Bailey and Pinecrest Elementary Schools. While she loved being a teacher, she really blossomed in retirement, learning to tap dance, taking fencing lessons, painting classes and becoming a very good Mah Jhong player, and instructor. After retiring, she continued to serve children and the general public in so many ways. She was an active volunteer for Sparrow Hospital’s “Hello Hospital” Program which helped to make the hospital a much less scary place for children. She also loved making toys for the RJ Scheffel Memorial Toy Project which gives handmade toys to children around the Capital City whose families may not otherwise be able to afford them. Shirley also was a volunteer at The Wharton Center, serving in the Inner Circle, as an usher for the “Act 1” program and working in the Gift Shop. She was active in the HELO Club, serving as President and Membership Chair, Played golf in the “Happy Hookers” golf league at Indian Hills and was known to many as one of the hosts on the Radio Reading Service provided for people with visual disabilities by WKAR Radio.

An avid traveler, Shirley visited all 50 of the United States, often taking (dragging) family or other traveling partners through numerous museums, battlegrounds and other notable sites. She also traveled through Europe, The UK, Mexico and 8 of the 11 Canadian Provinces.

But what she loved more than anything was time with family. From grandma camp with her graddaughters, Family vacations in Glen Arbor, “fancy dinners”, board games on holidays (It was Colonel mustard in the conservatory with the Candle stick!) MSU hockey games and in the summer time, lots and lots of golf including one memorable round where she and Courtney ended up driving through a sand trap and a sprinkler on the same hole! She loved puzzles, politics and providing advice to anyone who needed help.

Shirley is survived by her Daughter, Kimberly (Scott) Moore of East Lansing, Son Jeffrey (Susan) Cummings of Saline, MI, Granddaughters Courtney (James) Chambers of Lansing, Jessica (Christopher) Thorburn of Farmington Hills, Grandson Keith Cummings of Saline and Great Granddaughter Emily Chambers of Lansing and nieces Cindy (James) Lindelien of Pahrump, NV and Faye Holmes of Houston, TX. She was preceded in death by the love of her life, husband Milt Cummings, her parents, Harold and Mildred (Barker) Spencer, her brother and sister in law Donald and Marilu Spencer of Kingwood, Tx. And Niece Melanie Spencer of San Diego, CA.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, interment in the Memory Garden at Lansing’s First Presbyterian Church will be limited to family only, but a celebration of her life will be held in May 2021.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations should be made to the RJ Scheffel Memorial Toy Project ( or WKAR’s Radio Reading Service (


Shirley Spencer Cummings

have a memory or condolence to add?

Marina Easterbrook

October 16, 2020

My deepest condolences to you and your family.

Jody Johnson

October 14, 2020

Shirley was a kind, fun loving person. I always enjoyed the times she would join our family Thanksgiving get together. Scott fell in love with Shirley & Milt quickly. Love to all of you. ❤️

Jon & Mary Nelson

October 13, 2020

She was a good person and an exceptional teacher. The year she had our oldest son at Pinecrest, he was one of a larger group of rambunctious boys. She took it in stride and even embraced the challenge! We are very grateful to her. Sending good thoughts to her family.

Alex's parents

DianeRoger Young

October 13, 2020

So Sad to Hear!
Mrs. Cummings was always Kind to our kids, Roger and Mary @ Pinecrest .... AND to Everyone, that we ever saw her interact with in the classroom.

Our Condolences to her family!

The Young Family

Siri Rainone

October 12, 2020

Shirley was so supportive of my Presidency with HELO Club. She was patient, teaching, and always displayed a sense of humor. The memories of her tireless efforts with membership, the club constitution and by-laws and its history will be missed by many of us.