OBITUARY

Harry L. Kummer, III

August 6, 1930May 20, 2013
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Harry Lee Kummer III, age 82, passed away Monday, May 20, 2013 at home surrounded by his loving family. He was the husband of Jacqueline (Boucher) Kummer. Born in Brockton, the son of the late Harry Lee Kummer II and Edith (Deacon) Kummer, Mr. Kummer lived in New Bedford most of his life. He is predeceased by his twin brother William Kummer and his sister Susan Kyle.

Survivors in addition to his wife are his 9 children, Karl Kummer and his wife Janice of FL; Mary Kummer and her partner Maureen of CA; Anne Davis and her husband Scott of NH; Jane Olivierre and her husband Jeff of Dartmouth; Lisa Rudolph and her husband William of NY; James Kummer of New Bedford; Paula Lassey and her husband Dale of Dartmouth; Amy Shaw and her husband Scott of Westport; Thomas Kummer and his wife Patricia of New Bedford; 12 grandchildren, Aaron, Michael Ben, Brad, Jaie, Alex, Owen, Brian, Robert Alison, Ethan, Drew and many nieces and nephews.

He was a devoted and loving husband to Jacqueline (Boucher) Kummer for 57 years. They worked as a team and were inseparable. They travelled, gardened, took courses, spent time with the family and had many friends and interests. His greatest joys in life were times spent with his wife, children and grandchildren. Their remarkable relationship serves as a hallmark for all who encountered them. They were best friends.

Harry was deeply involved in the community. Among his many awards and tributes, are the NAACP Humanitarian Award and the B’Nai Brith Golden Apple Award. An athlete and scholar, he was All American in high school football and in 2004 he was inducted into the Wagner College Hall of Fame. He also served in the Army during the Korean Conflict. Harry was a lifelong educator in the greater New Bedford area. He worked as a teacher and coach and was the Director of Academics at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Visiting hours will be held Thursday, May 23, 2013 from 4-8pm at Rock Funeral Home, 1285 Ashley Blvd, New Bedford. The funeral and burial are private. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship will be given in his honor. Donations may be directed to the Greater New Bedford Regional Voc-Tech High School Scholarship Fund on his behalf. He was cherished and will be greatly missed.

Services

  • Visiting Hours Thursday, May 23, 2013
REMEMBERING

Harry L. Kummer, III

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Anne Davis

June 11, 2013

As I thought about how to start this memoir, I thought of the many aspects of Pa and settled on one. He was always doing.

I guess you might call him a worker bee. Up at 6 am and off to work by 7, we would all be in the kitchen having breakfast…There was inevitably a huge pan of maypo, cream of wheat, or oatmeal on the stove that Ma was stirring. There were cans of frozen orange juice or apple juice being mixed (maybe even diluted a bit and lumps of concentrate mashed into mush and then juice and of course starlack or carnation powdered milk to be mixed by whoever had ‘the week'… )

A cup of coffee and breakfast, and Pa would be almost ready to go… He would empty his pockets of change if we needed 25¢ for lunch or a nickel for milk, and that's what he usually had in his pocket … a handful of loose change. Everything he earned was turned over to Mum, the financial whiz on the team. Not once did I hear him complain about wanting something for himself. He had it all. There's a lesson there. Be happy with everything you have.

So whether he was off to teach, or to NBHS to be a counselor who encouraged all students to do their best, to dream big, or to Carney Academy where he and Dr Waters worked as a team to put in place a pillar of academic excellence in a community where there had been low expectations. They built a culture of high expectations and high performance for staff and students. Talk about a powerhouse team. He enjoyed this partnership. It gave him great satisfaction. Lessons? There are many… Collaboration is deeply satisfying. His collaboration with Joe Barbero was another deeply satisfying experience. They built the foundation for the new school, developed programs, hired the staff and had high expectations for everyone. What a success.

After an 8 hour day, Pa would go directly to the football field or to the Neighborhood Youth Corps, or another second job for several more hours. The years he coached, he enjoyed working with the players and we have memories of Saturday night football parties with day-old donuts and cider for the players at our house, and Sunday afternoons with reels of football games being reviewed by coaches. Sometimes there was even beer, but always there was cheering and excitement. Pa would inevitably watch these with a kid or two on his lap or several playing underfoot. The newspapers referred to his players as Kummer's kids. Lesson, do things that you love.

In the spring the garden would go in. Rows and rows of corn, beans, tomatoescukespeppers… Supper was at five… and Ma fed 11 of us on his modest teacher's salary, and later on his administrator's salary. He would work after supper planting, weeding, thinning the corn, weeding until dark. The mo-sqwee-tos were slapped, the sweat poured. We all worked in the garden and we especially loved picking double rows of beans on Saturday mornings… There were wheelbarrow rides to and from the garden. The return trip had little ones riding on top of the pile of corn.

There was always a chore list and gardening was part of the ritual. We grew the veggies, ate them, sold some, and froze them for the winter. We wrapped tomatoes in old newspapers and stored squash, and onions. We picked berries at Philips Farm, and Lucy Little Rd and blueberries in Acushnet. These were fun times. We raised chickens and pigs to fill the freezer. We slopped the pigs before catching the bus. In the fall, the steam would rise from the slop bucket. Chickens escaped and were rounded up, the pig stye was moved around in the garden to use up the old veggies and they really turned over the plants…like rotartillers. He loved the garden and the fruits of his labor. He never complained, just kept at it, and the work became a strength and a joy. There's a life lesson.

He had a pool for us and a sand pile. He would test the water and put in the chemicals to keep it clean. Once in a while he'd jump in with us and we would all jump on him… Five or six…That's how many of us it took to dunk him. He let us. I can remember being lifted up right out of the water on his massive arm and we'd squeal with glee. Lots of fun in that little pool.

And then there were the trips in the VW buses. To Fairhaven, to New Milford, CT, to North Attleboro and to the cape. There's cape cod again we'd sing. There were lots of car songs (I didn't know there was a radio in any car we ever had)…Benjamin Franklin inventive was he, camp songs, Bible School songs, It's a Hard Knock Life from Annie. He always sang along. He loved to sing around the piano too. There were Rogers and Hammerstein tunes, and other show tunes, classics like Daisy, Daisy, You are my sunshine, and all of the show tunes that the kids were involved with at NBHS. He always sang along or listened. He was always smiling when we sang and played for him. He was proud of us and enjoyed us. Another life lesson. Enjoy the simple things. Pa, you are my sunshine.

He had time for sports events, and band and chorus concerts and the high school plays. He was always there and always had a smile. He was proud of all of us, even when we lost. Life lesson. Be there for those you love.

He made time for friends and there were often friends over for dinner. They'd take turns hosting. Ma is a phenomenal cook and they had a great time. Another lesson… Make time for friends. Keep it simple. That's two (lessons).

At work, Pa would sometimes have baby food on his tie or jacket from feeding someone before or after work. He always wore a suit and tie, and Ma made time to press his pants and iron and starch his shirts. I can recall the smell of the starch and the iron; the sound of the steam. He looked like a million bucks. He worked at the job, often doing the work of several because he had the skills and capacity to get things done. He was a doer. It's amazing what can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit was the mantra in the early years. Give it your all, he'd say.

But Pa, on occasion, and understandably grew weary of those who would take advantage or let him do the bull work on the job. One of the greatest lessons that he shared with me as a young teacher working for him and then as a new administrator was how to find the balance… to spike the ball over the net to avoid being exploited (in Kummer fashion). Kummers pitch in, Kummers do more than our share, Kummers get the important work done, but Kummers don't let others take advantage of you. There is a fine line… Another lesson.


Another lesson on the job, it's ok to crow. Kummers are modest (for the most part) around others. We do a great job of crowing to one another, but when I'd apply for positions he'd remind me to do some crowing Hens do all the work and the rooster takes the credit. Do some crowing for the things that you have accomplished.

Be assertive. Be aggressive. B-e,- agg- ress-ive… There was some of that. (When the going gets tough, the tough get going.)

He coached us in our careers. He coached us as parents. He cried when we cried and he rejoiced and celebrated our successes with us.

Pa was always in our corner, no matter what. He'd let us know if we were off base and we are better because of his honest feedback. No slackers. No whiners ( I sometimes break this one), always do your best, do whatever you need to do to get the job done, to care for your family, to be there for friends, to take on causes, to be a part of your community, to love and cherish your spouse, partner, your children, to be the rock for others, to put others before yourself.
Thanks Pa.
I love you,
Anne

Kathryn Sullivan

May 26, 2013

What a beautiful tribute to your husband and father...What a privilege to have known him..he will be missed by all but especially by you his loving wife and children

Mary Peckham-Childs

May 24, 2013

I am very sorry for your loss.. I remember Mr Kummer well.. from Voke.. many years ago... I will keep you all in my prayers

Jodi Boucher

May 24, 2013

My deepest and heart felt sympathies to the entire family. Mr Kummer was an amazing man and a great leader. He will be remembered fondly..I absolutely loved him..

May 24, 2013

HARRY KUMMER WAS ONE OF GOD`S GREATEST GIFTS TO THIS WORLD.WOULD THAT WE ARE LEFT BEHIND COULD EMULATE HIS LOVE AND EMPATHY TO OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS.HE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED. ERROL C. BROOKS HOUSTON TEXAS

Kathy (Whalley) Ulrich

May 23, 2013

Dear Karl,Mary, Anne and all of you dear Kummer kids, I am so very, very sorry to hear about your wonderful father's passing. I have such fond memories of your Dad, he was always so kind and generous and just a hoot to be around. I think of all the great times hanging out with you, your gorgeous Mom and your really great sisters and brothers. Always in my heart my friends, always.

Jerry Pinel lll

May 23, 2013

TO the Kummer So sorry for your loss. Mr Kummer was a great man and will be dearly missedby all that knew him.

Erica & Cory Hanks

May 23, 2013

To the Kummer Family WE are sorry for your loss. Mr. Kummmer will be missed by many.

Rick Spoor

May 23, 2013

Family,
Sorry to hear of the passing of
MR. KUMMER,a man of incredible physical strength, surpassed only by the respect of his students @G.N.B.V.T.H.S and those who knew him best.I was fortunate to know this remarkable man and heed his guidance.
Rest In Peace.

May 23, 2013

To all the Kummer's, Our sympathies to you. Our prayers and thoughts are with you. Gisela and Bob Bouchard