It is with very heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, partner, and friend on February 19.
Eric Watson Cumby was larger than life itself. An enormous personality, Eric’s wisdom, keen wit, and sharp intellect were gifts given freely to all he encountered. He could debate any subject with deep knowledge and great passion based on a lifetime of studying those around him and a love of books, culture, and history. He was greatly loved and generously returned that love to his family and a broad circle of friends spanning decades and countries. He loved to travel and learn every single day and did so with intention his entire life.
Eric was born in 1936 and lived his first 10 years in Millertown. He always held special feelings and memories of those years and about life along Red Indian Lake. He and his family then moved to Grand Falls, which he described as a cultural shock, but he grew to adjust and thrive. He made many friends during his childhood, some of whom became lifelong. He developed a lasting interest in sports and played baseball and hockey for many years. He became a Boston Bruins fan when he received his first jersey at age 11.
After graduating high school, Eric attended Acadia University. He returned to Newfoundland to work and that is when he began dating Isabel Byrd. They married on September 7, 1960 and headed off to New York City for their honeymoon. Soon thereafter, they moved to Angola, Indiana so Eric could pursue his electrical engineering degree. While in Angola, their first child – Judy was born. They then moved to Springfield, Illinois, where both Barbie and Mike were born. In time, the pull of home and family became too strong to resist and they returned to Newfoundland, living in St. John’s and Gander and then settling back in Grand Falls where both Jill and Brenda were born. During the years of raising a family and working at Newfoundland Power, Eric continued to value community involvement and served with minor hockey, Boy Scouts, various boards of directors and was a longtime active member of the Kiwanis service club, having served as president for a term.
In 1987, Eric and Isabel relocated to St. John’s where he worked as a vice-president with Newfoundland Power, both in customer service and later in human resources. He retired in 1992 and after a year, he decided to return to the workforce. This time, Eric and Isabel moved to Inuvik in the NWT for about three years, serving as manager of Western Operations with Northwest Territories Power. Eric and Isabel loved their time in Canada’s North. Finally, they returned to St. John’s and settled fully into retirement, during which Eric spent time walking, swimming, and practicing yoga.
Eric was a man who earned the respect of all who knew him. He had a great understanding of humanity, believed in treating everyone with respect, and was very compassionate towards those in need. He continued to live out these principles until the end of his life through his involvement with the St. Vincent de Paul Society through Mary Queen of the World Parish. He provided counsel and wisdom to many over the years who reached out for his assistance.
He loved literature, poetry and was very philosophical. Some of his favorites included Robert Frost’s – “The Road Not Taken”: “Two Roads Diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.” He also shared from his Buddha readings: “In the end, all that mattered is how much we loved, how gently we lived, how gracefully we let go of those things that weren’t meant to be.” He added “how tightly we held to those things that mattered. Be good to each other.”
Left with cherished memories are his partner Kathleen Scott, children Judy of St. John’s, Barbara (Ian) MacLean of Fall River, NS; Mike (Lisa Hickey) of Greenville, SC; Jill of Halifax, NS; and Brenda (Steve) Wall of Kensington, Connecticut; grandchildren Danielle (Prashanth Ramanathan), Alyssa, Kevin, Karina, and Amelia MacLean; Sam, Luke, and Emma Cumby; Zack and Amy Wall; great grandchildren Kaila, Harris, and Alora Ramanathan; as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Eric was predeceased by his wife Isabel, parents Mabel and Ellis Cumby, brothers Hayward, Eldon, Kevin, sister Mona, and grandson and namesake Eric MacLean.
Cremation has taken place. A funeral service will be arranged at a future time when we can safely gather. In his memory, donations may be made to: Bridges to Hope (www.bridgestohope.ca), St. Vincent de Paul Society at Mary Queen of the World Parish (mqwp.org/SSVP/intro.html), or VOWR (www.vowr.org/donations.html).
Dear Judy & Family
I was saddened to learn of the passing of Eric. For several days I pondered on what to say that might convey the significance of your loss..
So just let me close by offering my sincerest condolences. I’m going to miss him too.
To the Cumby family:
Our deepest sympathies are with you on the passing of Mr. Cumby. He was a regular library patron at the Michael Donovan branch for many years and the staff here will truly miss his visits. Whenever he was here he was sure to put a smile on our faces and always loved to talk books with us. We hope that your many cherished memories will help to ease some of your sorrows during this difficult time.
-Michael Donovan Library staff
My thoughts and prayers are with the family. Sincere condolences.
To Eric’s family:
Barbara and I were so sorry to hear of Eric’s passing. We grew up in Grand Falls and Eric was a classmate. All. those characteristics attributed to Eric in his wonderful obituary were already evident when he was a young person. He was intelligent, athletic, talented, gregarious and well-liked. I was happy see him at our GFA reunion a few years ago and we also communicated on FB. We know he had a loving family, great friends, a fulfilling career and a full life well-lived.. With love, Barbara and Bob.
My condolences. I will remember him fondly.
Belated condolences to you and your family upon your dad’s passing. I am sorry for your loss, and I hope that treasured memories will comfort you.
Judy,Barb,Mike,Jill Brenda and Families
The Lanes and Cumbys were Family Friends for many years .and we have many priceless memories of times spent with you and your Parents!.
We share your profound sadness..
Our thoughts and prayers are winging your way.
Winnie, Denyse and David
It was with much regret and sadness that I received the news of Eric’s death. During the time we worked together at Newfoundland Power, I always found him to be respectful of people, and willing to listen and consider the thoughts of others.
To the family of Eric: so very sorry for your loss.
Kathleen and all of Eric’s family please accept our sincere condolences on the passing of Eric.. We will keep you in our thoughts & prayers. Francis & Elizabeth Keating.
Dear Kay & family,
I am so sorry to hear of Eric’s passing.He was a real gentleman and so friendly.we will all miss him.Take care of yourself.
I thank God for the priviledge of knowing Eric & calling him my friend!
Eric was intelligent, kind, caring & overall beautiful person! We talked about everything from God, politics & whatever was going on in this world at the time!
Seeing the two of you together estored my faith in love & mankind!
The love Eric had for you was everlasting & will live on in your heart forever!
I am thankful for being a small piece of his endless knot!
Sending my sincerest condolences to you! I can only imagine the loss you feel!
I’m here for you! Remember that always!
Kathleen, sorry to hear of Eric’s passing. I know he had some medical issues but this was a shock.. my condolences to you and all his family. It was always a pleasure to meet; gentlemanly, erudite and always interesting to chat with him. He will be missed. Take care,
My Parents , Vera and Aidan , were great friends of Eric and I have had many discussions with him over many years – mostly when we saw each other at the yearly Newfoundland Power Christmas dance. I though well of him and always enjoyed the opportunity to see and chat with him. Both my parents have passed this last couple of years and if here now would also be saddened by his passing .
Thoughts and prayers from the Ryan family to yours
Kathleen:SO SAD TO READ TODAY OF ERIC’S PASSING. Martha and I send our condolences to you and Eric’s family and friends!
Judy and family-So sorry to hear of your dad’s passing-always enjoyed speaking and joking with him-he had a great intellect and spirit. My prayers are with you all at this difficult time. Sincerely, Brian D.
Judy, Barb, Mike, Jill and Brenda
Our sincere condolences to all of you. We have good memories of the times the two families spent together, especially at the lake.
Your dad was everything and more you wrote in his obituary. We remember him with great fondness.
We were very fortunate to be able to call him and you mother our friend.
Kathleen: Please accept our sincere sympathy on Eric’s passing. Covid really messed up our get-togethers so that we were not able to meet as often as we would have liked. Which means we haven’t seen much of you lately. Please know we are still at MQW on Fridays and would welcome you. God bless. RIP Eric.
Sincere condolences to Eric’s children & grandchildren.
Dear cousins Judy, Barbara, Mike, Jill and Brenda. The world is poorer without your Dad. I recall how I laughed when Eric called me in Yellowknife, shortly after he and Isabel moved to Inuvik, to announce that there were now 2 “Fogwills” in the NWT. And I think we talked at the Fogwill family reunion in 1995 but there were 150 of us and we were all talking at once! Most recently Eric was generous with his time, giving me so many family stories and wonderful photographs for the 2014 Fogwill family history book.. Thank you for the wonderful obituary; it captured him so very well. My deepest sympathy for your loss. May the thousands of memories help assuage your grief in the days and weeks ahead. With a hug from Edmonton. Lynn Fogwill & family.
Jill and family, Our sincere condolences on the passing of your dad. I know you have great memories to cherish. God bless
Frank, Heather Ryan and family.
Judy and the Cumby Clan,
Our hearts go out to you on the passing of your larger than life dad. Eric was a strong presence at New Bay Lake – we always remember his wandering from cabin to cabin to say hello and see what was cooking: always enjoying his stories and his sense of humor. I especially loved to debate with him and he was fierce about his positions. We hadn’t seen him much these past years but there is often a story told at the lake that inevitably reminded us of Eric. He will always be remembered there.
You are each part of a loving and close family due in large part to Eric and Isabel’s nurturing and support.
The memories of your dad will always be with you to give you comfort in the missing of him.
Take good care,
Dorothy & Dennis Fewer
Judy, Barb, Mike, Jill, Brenda and Kathleen,
So many of my childhood memories include the Cumby Clan next door at the lake. We had so many memorable moments around the campfire, playing cards, grabbing cookies from the camp and your Dad was always there with a smile and a story. Reddy Kilowatt will be forever etched in my mind as as a kid I was in awe of all the branded gear that your Dad would have.
It saddens me that the original New Bay crowd is dwindling but I just have to believe on Friday nights they will be sitting around a fire and “going on a tiger hunt”.
Thinking of you all, our deepest condolences on the loss of the Cumby patriarch. I will miss his thought provoking social media posts.
Kelly Aiello(Paddick) and Family.
I just learned today of Eric’s passing. I knew him through my years at Newfoundland Power and since retirement he has been active in our retirement association. He was always happy to provide support, suggestions and friendship. Always approachable and a truly fine gentleman in every sense of the word. My sincere condolence to Kathleen and the Cumby family.
To the Cumby family. Sorry to hear of Eric’s passing. I had not seen Eric for several years, but as a young cousin, I have fond memories of summer visits to Aunt Kit and Uncle Ellis in Grand Falls. I know that he was held in high regard by all and will be greatly missed. Please accept my sincere condolences.
Our deepest condolences to all, Eric was a wonderful person in every way, He leaves a deep void in this troubled world, and is a precious addition to the world beyond,.RIP sweet soul, until we meet again. May the Family take comfort in their precious memories and I know they must have so many.
It was like a high school romance when my my mother, Kathleen, introduced Eric to me some 5 years ago. He was on his best behaviour to make a good impression and assure me that he was treating my mother with all the respect and love she deserved. He did so much more than that, but still acting mischievous by constantly smuggling chocolates and treats into the house like a little school boy. He was a great man who I liked talking to and I will miss him greatly. My deepest condolences to the extended Cumby family.
My condolences. I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Eric. I appreciated his good humour and energy.
My condolences to Eric’s family. I had the pleasure of speaking to Eric a couple of weeks ago. I have been working at NP for 42 years so I have known him for a while. We had a nice conversation and while people say to me “you’re not still there, I thought you were retired” Eric didn’t say that. Instead he offered me the following advice – Don’t retire because you can, retire because you want to”. Thank you Eric. Rest in peace.
Dear Brenda, Steve, Zack, Amy and all the Cumby family, we are so terribly sorry for your loss. You were blessed with a wonderful father and grandfather. Sending much love to you from Ottawa.
Our deepest sympathies,
Lisa, Darren, James and Luke Wadden
Judy, Barb, Mike, Jill, and Brenda – So sad to learn of your Dad’s passing, our prayers and thoughts are with you and all the family.
I am beyond saddened to hear that Eric has passed away. He was truly a breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with you both. You truly complimented each other. Never did I think a few weeks ago it would be the last time I would see Eric. Know that I am thinking of you at this very sad time. And sending you lots of love! Rest In Peace Eric! You will be missed ♥️
Jill, Judy and all the family,
My sympathy on the death of your dad. When I went to play bridge with Isabel, I always enjoyed Eric’s little gems about life offered before we went on our way back home. He was really a special person.
Beautiful words for a beautiful man. He touched many souls during his time on earth. So privileged I had the honor of knowing him.
Judy, Barb, Mike, Jill and Brenda – My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time.
Judy ,Barb, Mike, Jill , Brenda and Families
Our deepest condolences for your loss. Our families shared many memories over the years. Dad and Eric shared a long friendship with lots of baseball and hotdogs. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. Pat Trask Goodyear and Lossie Trask
Beautiful words for a beautiful man. He touched many souls during his time on earth. So privilege
I had the honor of knowing him. Judy, Barb, Mike, Jill and Brenda – My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this time.
The Cumby family and Kathleen,
My condolences on Eric,s passing. I always enjoyed his friendship. His sister Mona was one of my dearest friends and I remember with fondness his dear mom.
Eric was truly a beautiful person all my thoughts and prayers for your family and Kathleen Scott
To the Walls and the entire Cumby family,
We are so sorry to hear of your loss and our hearts and thoughts are with you all as you mourn the loss of an amazing man. While your hearts are broken, your dad/grandpa will forever live in all of you and the memories you shared together. Wishing you peace and love during this difficult time.❤️
Sorry to hear of the sudden passing of Eric. I will miss talking to him about books and book clubs. We will all miss him at pantry especially for the coffee breaks.. The special parties wouldn’t be the same without Eric and you Kathleen. So sorry.
Very sorry to hear this news. Eric was a mentor who greatly influenced my career at Newfoundland Power. I shall always recall working closely with him on a project called “Upbeat ’89”. Larger than life. Always helpful. Tremendous sense of humour. I feel blessed to have known Eric.
Judy, Barb, Mike, Jill, Brenda and extended families:
So sorry to hear of Eric’s passing. I always enjoyed our chat’s together. I’ve known the Cumby family for years and was a classmate of Kevin’s. Mona and I had a special friend relationship , being the wife of my friend Max Dyke. I was pleased to have done the eulogy for Max on his passing. At Eric’s request and for Eldon, Kevin and Mona I read the Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken”. It was a favourite. Liz and I send our condolences to the family. Rest In Peace, Eric!
Judy and siblings
So sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. I remember him from our younger days when you and I hung around together. His obituary is beautifully written and certainly speaks to his character. Like your mom he was a beautiful soul and will live on in all of you
Sandra and Dave Evans
Judy, Barb, Mike, Jill, Brenda and families
We were sorry to hear of Mr. Cumby’s passing. We hope that over time your current sense of loss is replaced with the warm memories of your time together.
Travor, Andrea, Davin, Alex and Maddi
Judy, I just learned of your father’s death and wanted to express Jim’s and my sincerest condolences. Your father (and your mother) raised a a very loving, caring and close family. I know they meant the world to you and you to them. Your dedication to them both was admirable and so I know your father’s death will be a great loss to you. You are in our thoughts and prayers as you make this journey. Susan
Judy Barb Mike Jill an Brenda so sorry
to hear of your dads passing. We will keep
you guys in our prayers. Your dad an mom
we’re lovely people you could ever meet.
God Bless you guy an your families.We
always had a great time when you guys were
in Grand Falls on Goodyear Avenue..
A beautiful obituary – so incredibly well written and really shows your father’s character. My condolences to all of the Cumby father.
by Sandra Scott
Judy, Barb,Mike, Jill and Brenda, we are all so very sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. I have many cherished memories of New Bay Lake campfires and card games, and Christmas drop ins at your house and ours. Too many New Bay folks gone now but I can imagine quite the card game going on in Heaven. Sending thoughts of love and Peace to you all.