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Willis Cummings

Aug. 3, 1918-June 3, 2009

Willis H. Cummings, 90, of Detroit Lakes, died Wednesday, June 3, 2009 with family and Hospice angels by his side.

Willis Howard Cummings was born to Phillip C. and Nora Eugene (Johnson) Cummings on Aug. 3, 1918 near Alexandria. At the age of three, he moved west with his family to Oregon, but they made it only into Montana when they had car problems, and had to turn back to North Dakota. They spent several years residing north of Tower City, N.D.

Willis later moved to the Callaway area, and helped build the school there. When he was 22, Willis moved to Glyndon and enlisted in the United States Army. Two years later he left for war. He was on a ship of 7,000 men that took 14 days to get to North Africa. Only 250 of them returned home in 1945.

Willis was in Africa, Italy and Czechoslovakia, when he was injured and lost all his teeth. He was proud to have served his country and remained patriotic throughout his life. After the war, Willis resided in Fargo, working in construction with his dad. He married Perle Crosby and together they moved to the Twin Cities, where he operated a construction business prior to moving to the Strawberry Lake area in 1959.

Willis and Perle developed, owned and operated Cummings Campsite, now known as Woodland Trails. They left the lake in 2003 and moved to Detroit Lakes. In the fall of 2008, Willis moved to Oak Crossing (formerly St. Mary's Nursing Center).

Willis enjoyed the outdoors, where he was able to hunt, fish, camp and participate during the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag. He loved reading Louis L'Amour westerns and going to flea markets, where Willis and Perle sold crafts that Willis hand made out of wood. Together they enjoyed their retirement years, spending their winters in Texas.

Willis will be remembered and missed by his wife of 63 years, Perle, along with their daughter, Judy (Mike) Nodsle of Detroit Lakes; sons, Buck (Marilyn) Cummings of Detroit Lakes and Dennis (Dawn) Cummings of Titusville, Fla. He is also survived by six granddaughters and four great grandchildren.

Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, June 6 at United Methodist Church in Detroit Lakes. There will be visitation for one hour prior to services at the church.

Interment will be held at Lakeside Cemetery in Richwood.

The David-Donehower Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes has been serving the family. Memories may be shared online at