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Our beloved Dad and Grandpa, William Cummings (83), was peacefully called home to Heaven on November 26th, 2020, listening to Irish music and watching football.
He leaves behind a beautiful legacy of family. He was a devoted and beloved husband, loving father and father-in-law, adoring grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, brother-in-law and uncle.
Bill’s love of life can be illustrated by his eagerness to enter this world; he so couldn’t wait to arrive that he was delivered in a taxicab in Weehawken, NJ. His childhood in Union City was filled with stories of adventure and he would belly laugh while recounting his escapades. A proud United States Marine Corp veteran, Bill could regale you with countless tales of his time in the service. Bill met Christine McGoey under the 59thStreet bridge at a softball game, after which they celebrated a win at Gleason’s. 5 years later they married in New York City at St. Paul’s Chapel - Columbia University, on July 31, 1971, with a reception that followed at the University Faculty Club. They lived in Bogota, NJ, until purchasing a home in Northvale, NJ, in 1973. Jeannine was born in 1975 and Justin in 1978.
As a family, they enjoyed traveling, often accompanying Bill as he photographed the New York Football Giants and various other teams. He traveled the world with the NFL and didn’t miss a Super Bowl or a Pro Bowl for close to 40 years. The family traveled together to numerous NFL American Bowl games in England, Germany and Sweden and then always made the requisite visit to Ireland. A highlight of one of the many Giants road games they attended was Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, where they spent the afternoon sharing lunch with Jon Bon Jovi, followed by a thrilling Giants win. It was during these years of touring around the World when Bill perfected his proud skill of "schmoozing”, frequently talking his way into a First-Class flight upgrade or a hotel suite (the strumming of his fingers donning his Super Bowl ring didn’t hurt).
Bill’s years of devotion to, and passion for, his work is evidenced by the countless friendships he forged on the sidelines with fellow photographers, coaches, players and so many more. In fact, he was lovingly named official "field goal statistician" by the Giants radio play by play booth, as his end zone field goal calling always preceded the referees’ and they relied on him to make the call before the crowd noise kicked in - and he was never wrong…or so he says. ;)
In addition to his work with the NFL and NY Football Giants, Bill owned and operated Group II Photography and Videography. Photographing and videotaping hundreds of weddings were a significant part of Bill’s life. Though it was his business, there was no denying he cherished being a part of the joyous celebrations he documented throughout the years.
In addition to football and weddings, Bill’s fondness for recording life’s momentous experiences drew him to the halls of Northern Valley Old Tappan High School, filming for the Senior Video Yearbook and photographing the Senior Prom. He loved being in the middle of it all, “joshing” with the students and heckling those who played camera shy. At home, Bill loved entertaining his children’s friends, where he and Christine cultivated a welcoming atmosphere and an open-door policy.
However, it’s no secret that he could be tough. But his family knew this militant demeanor was purely for show. Behind that intimidating guise was an overly sensitive father with a fierce desire to protect his children at all costs.
He documented not only his beloved New York Football Giants, but also his children, grandchildren and frequent trips to Ireland. During those trips, he tirelessly researched his genealogy, discovering the family homestead and burial sites, as well as rescuing and flying home several Holy Water fonts sculpted by his great-grandfather. He loved taking pictures of the lush green countryside, quaint Irish towns, majestic castles and churches. With almost two decades of Ireland trips chronicled in his US passport, he took great pride when obtaining his Irish passport in 2006.
Bill treasured time with his wife, children and grandchildren - and ever the consummate photographer - capturing the joy of meals and celebrations (with hundreds of pictures to peruse after). In the rare event he was not behind the camera, his cheerful smile and penchant for goofy faces lit up the lens with his passion for life.
Bill had an appreciation for the friendships, conversations, laughs and story telling that only a good Irish pub could provide. Many of his lifelong and cherished friendships were formed while enjoying his beloved Johnny Walker Red or over a cold pint. Most likely stemming from his days in the USMC, he was a creature of habit. His favorite local establishments knew of his request to dine at the same table, same day, same time, every week without fail (and of course the same corny jokes). He held dear many beloved friendships with his weekly golf crew in Venice, FL, and Pearl River, NY, and maintained lifelong bonds from his days on the sidelines of NFL Stadiums.
Upon retirement, Bill and Christine bought a condo in Venice, Florida, and eventually sold their Woodland Avenue home in Northvale, moving to nearby Pearl River to remain close to family and St. Anthony's RC Church. Becoming residents of the Venetia community, Bill immediately became involved and served as dedicated President of the Casa Di Amici Condo Association for over 13 years and was a longstanding Board Member of the Venetia Master Association, where he leaves an impressive legacy.
But his greatest love was for his wife. He relied on her for many things, and her unwavering commitment to him is something to be revered. This devotion is what carried him through the struggles of his life, especially most recently. He loved her dearly and was forever grateful that “she makes me a better person.”
Along with Christine, his faith was strong. They attended mass regularly (with Dad always in his front right center pew at St. Anthony’s). He prayed often and recited the rosary daily.
We are comforted by the fact that he is at Home, with God, and finally free from pain. We imagine he’s playing a round of golf, traversing the beautiful green hills and mountainsides of his favorite County in Ireland and sharing a story with friends over a Scotch in a Pub.
We will continue to speak to you in our prayers and know that you will watch over your grandchildren. They will miss you eternally and will cherish the memories you've created with them as they grow older.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and the rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his Hand.
Slainte, Dad! We love you forever and miss you already…
We encourage family and friends to share their memories, funny stories, photos and other comments in the section below. We can assure you it will bring us all comfort in celebrating his amazing legacy.