Former director of Northwest Maritime Center dies following traffic collision

Posted 7/22/21

Nick Twietmeyer ntwietmeyer@ptleader.com

 

Stan Cummings, the former executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center, died Tuesday, July 13 as a result of the injuries he suffered in a …

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Former director of Northwest Maritime Center dies following traffic collision

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Stan Cummings, the former executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center, died Tuesday, July 13 as a result of the injuries he suffered in a July 5 traffic collision.

Cummings had been riding his bicycle near Chimacum when he was struck by an item hanging off the trailer of a passing truck, according to Stan’s wife, Sigrid Cummings, who had been bicycling with him when the incident occurred.

According to Washington State Patrol, the 81-year-old Chimacum man who was driving the pickup was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident.

Jake Beattie, the Northwest Maritime Center’s current executive director said he never worked directly with Cummings, but he added that much of the work that came after his tenure was built upon the foundation he’d constructed for the center.

“He was only executive director for two years, but he really took fundraising to get the buildings built across the line,” Beattie said. “All the stuff that’s come after, all the work with the schools, the races, everything that’s been possible since I arrived — has been really standing on his shoulders in a lot of ways.”

“Fundraising had gone on for the better part of 10 years and there were these moments of, ‘Is this going to happen or not?’ Stan was able to really break through that and bring the campus home,” Beattie added.

A scholarship fund has been started for emerging marine scientists in Cummings’ memory through the Ocean Institute, based in Dana Point, California. Cummings founded the Ocean Institute in 1977, renamed from the Orange County Marine Institute.

“We feel the most fitting way to honor and continue Stan’s legacy is through the creation of the Stan Cummings Scholars Fund,” said Ocean Institute President Wendy Marshall in an email to The Leader. “This program engages passionate and talented high school students in research projects on the water and in our living laboratories, truly cultivating the minds that will undoubtedly grow to become the next generation of leaders in ocean research and education.”

Marshall added that “we are hopeful that we will develop and discover the next ‘Stan Cummings,’ who will go on to create life-changing programs, just as Stan did when he founded the Ocean Institute.” 

For his work at the Ocean Institute, Cummings was named Dana Point’s Citizen of the Year in 1985.

Cummings, 76, and his wife were bicycling on Highway 20 near Old Fort Townsend State Park on the morning he was struck. He was flown by a medical transport helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle due to his injuries.

In a journal entry published through caringbridge.org, Sigrid Cummings shared the decision to uphold her husband’s final wishes.

“When Stan was a young man he accompanied his father (an attorney) on a visit to a client who was in a nursing home. When they left, Stan’s father said to him, ‘When my time comes, please don’t make me go through that. Just take me fishing.’  Another discussion we’ve had many times is about the Voluntary Stop Eating and Drinking plan (VSED) and if it was in his power that’s what he would do, if he couldn’t go fishing.”

“Today Stan made the conscious decision to go fishing.” 

Friends and family of Cummings may offer donations in his honor to the Northwest Maritime Center via nwmaritime.org/give.

A celebration of Cummings’ life will be held at Northwest Maritime Center in mid-August.

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