CUMMINGS, DOROTHY HENSLEY (1929 ~ ). The following is a biographical sketch of Dorothy Hensley Cummings, spouse of former Texas House of Representatives Member Russell Cummings. The document was provided by Dorothy Cummings.
"I was born on August 23, 1929 in a community called Welcome, near Newnan, Georgia to my parents, Marion Roosevelt Hensley and Edna Parker Hensley. I was the first of five children, three boys and two girls. My name is Dorothy Dell, but no one uses the Dell. The next child was Joe, followed by Marion Jr. (called 'Buddy'), then Anne and Frank Jackson (called 'Charlie'). We lived on a small farm and both our parents worked in a nearby textile mill.
My parents were from North Carolina and from families that worked in textile mills there; they had eloped from a picnic in North Carolina, at a very early age, married and gone to Georgia to find work in a mill.
About the time I finished high school, I took a job with Southern Bell Telephone Company as a telephone operator in Newnam. I worked in a room with many other operators, connecting callers with the telephone numbers they wanted. One day, in the spring of 1945, the operator who was handling calls from Warm Springs, Georgia, overheard someone say that President Roosevelt had just died, so I was the first to know.
My father was offered a job with Anderson-Clayton Cotton company in Houston, Texas and we moved to Houston in 1946, where he became Superintendent of the Weave Room at their textile mill. My father died in 1968 and my mother died in 1999.
I found a job at C. Jim Stewart and Stevenson, in downtown Houston, as switchboard operator and receptionist. My switchboard was set up in the lobby and I routed all the incoming calls and greeted and directed visitors to the company. That's where I met Russell, my future husband. He was selling automotive batteries and had gone to school with Jimmy Stewart, one of the company owners. He didn't sell many batteries there, but he sold me on becoming Mrs. Russell Cummings. We met in September 1948, became engaged on Valentine's Day, 1949 and were married June 25, 1949. We had two children; David Malcolm Cummings in 1950 and Karen Ann Cummings in 1952.
Dave caught polio in February 1952, about the same time Karen was born. he got sick about the same time they discovered a vaccine to prevent polio, but it was too late. He was in Hedgcroft Hospital for seven months and then had to go back several days a week for therapy for years afterwards. He worked hard on his therapy and overcame much of the effects of the disease, although he still wears a brace to help strengthen his leg. He's had a successful career in government, working for State Senator
Jack Ogg, Comptroller Bob Bullock and State Senator Troy Fraser, until his retirement in 2006. His wife Diana also retired then from her elected position as County Treasurer of Llano County.
Both our children attended Poe Elementary School in Houston, and Karen's class was on the playground, near the bomber who detonated a suitcase full of explosives on the playground, one day in September of 1959. Several people died, but she was not seriously injured and has since acquired several college degrees, including bachelor's of arts in education, and bachelor's of science in computer science, both from Stephen F. Austin University and her master's in business administration from the University of Texas at Kilgore and her doctorate in community college administration from Baylor University. She teaches computer science at McLennan Community College in Waco. She has two sons; Russell Bennett Lang, who is finishing his doctorate in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and Carl Thompson Norwood, who is studying at Texas A&M University at College Station. Karen's husband, Johnny Garrett, is an executive with a Waco based trucking company.
After I left C. Jim Stewart & Stevenson, I worked a while at Cummings Moving & Storage Co. for Russell, but we decided it would be better if I spent my time making a good home, being a room mother and a Girl Scout leader, reading to the children, visiting the zoo and otherwise helping them grow into well rounded human beings. I even took on the job of being Election Judge of Precinct 60, in Houston, when Russell was elected to the Legislature and became ineligible to do both.
We moved to Austin in 1973 and lived on the banks of Lake Austin (in Rivercrest Addition) for several years, followed by several years on a small place near Dripping Springs, followed by several years at the Towers of Town Lake in downtown Austin. By then, Russell was approaching retirement, so we started looking for a ranch where we could make our retirement home. We retired from the state in 1993 and moved to our new place in Hamilton County in October 1994, and we all lived happily, ever after.
We have had pets ('Scout' and 'Democrat,' both yellow labs) and countless barn cats, about a dozen horses and lots of cattle, including an annual crop of baby calves to enjoy. The wild life and wild flowers are beautiful and the creeks are peaceful to watch (except when they dry up or overflow). Our neighbors are nice and we especially enjoy Bonnie Chism and Michael Langford. I enjoy being a member of the Pottsville Red Hat Ladies and the Pottsville Extension Education Club and the Hamilton County Democrats. Until recently, we enjoyed meeting with the members of our Supper Club once a month for supper, somewhere in Texas. We did so for many years, but we finally had to give up regular attendance because of the travel requirements. We miss seeing the Supper Clubbers: Richard and Pam Christie, Ed and Josie Davis, Al and Pat Luedcke, Gary and Bonnie Trietsch and Marcus and Alice Yancey, all 'highway hands.'
'As the days dwindle down to a precious few,' we are comfortable with the way our lives have turned out. We always did the best we could.
Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.