Mary Armistead Cummins "Polly"

November 18, 1939March 11, 2023
Obituary of Mary Armistead Cummins "Polly"
Mary Gilbert Armistead Cummins (Polly) Died peacefully from a brief illness surrounded by family on March 11, 2023. Age 83. Polly is predeceased by her parents, Elizabeth Gilbert and James Hanner Armistead; her brother, James Hanner Armistead Jr; and her beloved husband of 56 years, Richard Fenner Cummins. Polly is survived by her three children: Elizabeth Armistead Cummins, Devereux Cummins Pollock (Gordon), and Richard Fenner Cummins, Jr. (Mary), all of Nashville. She was the adored and loving Poppy to her six grandchildren: Grace, Gordon III and Fenner Pollock; Richard III, Bradford and Louisa Cummins. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Susan Cummins Tuke (Robert) and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Polly was born in Nashville on November 18, 1939. She attended Parmer School (now Parmer Park) located down the street from her childhood home. She was a 1957 graduate of Harpeth Hall, where her senior future forecast was “Making Friends”. As a 1961 graduate of Vanderbilt University, she fondly remembered her wonderful college experience and professors, including one of the literary Fugitives (a group of influential early 20th century Southern poets and writers) founder Donald Davidson. A member of Kappa Alpha Theta, Polly was crowned Queen of Bal d’Hiver, Nashville’s oldest charity ball. Upon graduation, Polly worked for the pilot program of Project HeadStart as a Metro school teacher. In addition to being an active community volunteer, she also taught Sunday School at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where she was a lifelong member, baptized and married. She was a member of various organizations: Junior League of Nashville, Jamestowne Society, Colonial Dames of America, International Study Club, Centennial Club and Belle Meade Country Club. Her closest and lifelong friends were members with her of the First Wednesday Study Group— a group of outstanding women who have remained together for 55 years. As a native and multi-generational Nashvillian, Polly indeed made friends to many and all. She had a natural gift to befriend people of all ages, which made her a joy to be around. Her quick wit, wonderful sense of humor, kind demeanor, exceptional knowledge of all things “old” Nashville, and her optimistic outlook on life made a deep impact on all who met and knew her. She was not only devoted to her friends but was also a dear and close friend to her children and grandchildren. While Polly was known to have firm opinions on certain topics and always expected lovely manners, she was open to differing thoughts and welcomed engaging discussions on opposing views. As the daughter and granddaughter of a newspaper family (her family owned The Review Appeal in Franklin), Polly loved reading a daily newspaper from front to back and said she needed to “put her hands on a newspaper every day”. She was incredibly knowledgeable on current events, especially politics and sports. Polly was the epitome of a Southern lady. Her deep and unwavering faith was evident in her resolve to live a happy and fulfilled life. As one friend beautifully stated, “Polly is our rock”. She was always a steady and calming influence. She will be missed deeply, yet her bright and beautiful spirit will continue to live within her family and friends. The family is very grateful for the amazing care and support of Caregivers by WholeCare and Alive Hospice. Family will receive friends for visitation at Westminster Presbyterian Church from 3:00pm to 5:00pm on Thursday, March 23, 2023. A private graveside service will be held on Friday, March 24, 2023 at 1:30pm at Mount Hope Cemetery in Franklin, Tennessee. Memorial Contributions may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church (3900 West End Avenue, Nashville TN 37205); The Harpeth Hall School (3801 Hobbs Road, Nashville TN 37215); and Alive Hospice (1718 Patterson Street, Nashville TN 37203).

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