Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Kathy Cummiskey

August 24, 1944 - November 7, 2021
Grand Rapids, MI



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Hudson Education Foundation
P.O. Box 101
Hudson, MI 49427
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


When reflecting on the life of Kathy Cummiskey, words such as encourager, helper, and friend come to mind, but the word that perhaps reflects her most is the word teacher. Her students would say she was so much more than a teacher as she genuinely wanted to inspire young people to be their very best. A loving wife and mother, Kathy was thrilled to become a grandmother later in life. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.

During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as countless young men and women had answered the call to serve during WWII. Those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods such as rubber, paper, coffee, and various canned goods. It was also during this eventful time that Theodore and Violette (Collins) Cusack were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as the heat of the summer held the city of Durand, Michigan, firmly in its grip in 1944. Their wait was finally over when the baby girl they named Kathleen Ann made her arrival on August 24th. She was the middle of three girls as she was raised in the family home alongside her sisters, Mary Ellen and Margaret.

In many ways Kathy was a young girl of her generation. Her father owned and operated the local grain elevator in Swartz Creek while her mother was a homemaker. Kathy graduated in 1962 from Swartz Creek High School. In addition to holding down her studies she showed steers in the local 4-H, was a member of the Future Teachers Club, and was editor of the yearbook. Kathy then attended Ferris State for two years and then transferred to Western Michigan University where she earned her BS in teaching in 1966.

With her education behind her, Kathy was eager for all that life had in store. She started teaching elementary age children at Mona Shores Elementary in Muskegon. While there, she rented a place with three other teachers. Her personal life soon became very exciting as she met the young man of her dreams through a mutual friend. His name was Dan Cummiskey, and he lived in Grand Rapids where he worked as a banker. Sparks flew right from the start, and a whirlwind romance ensued. Kathy and Dan were married on August 10, 1968, in Swartz Creek. Together they welcomed two children, Patrick and Joyce, into their hearts and home. When their children were small Kathy stayed home to raise them and substitute taught. She was very supportive and involved in whatever her children were a part of including scouts, 4-H and various athletics. When Joyce was in fifth grade, Kathy went back to teaching full time.

Kathy's teaching assignments always followed Dan's job transfers. Over the years he was transferred to Big Rapids, then to the small town of Hudson, Michigan, with a population of just 2,000. Dan assured her it would be a short stop, but it was more than 20 years before they moved back to Big Rapids for retirement. Hudson proved to be a great fit for them, and Kathy established a special connection with the school and community there. Even when Dan retired, she continued to teach as she just loved what she did. They did some traveling taking several trips to her homeland of Ireland, and for several years they spent their winters in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Kathy’s favorite place, however, was sitting on the porch of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, listening to the horses go by.

Although her work and family kept her busy, Kathy did enjoy spending time doing some of the things she loved. She was an avid reader and wrote in a journal every day. Kathy also liked working in her flower garden as well as keeping in touch with her family and friends, often talking on the phone. Of course spending time with her family always topped her list, and it was easy to see that her granddaughters were the light of her life.

All who knew Kathy Cummiskey would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She always treated others with fairness and accepted everyone right where they were at. Kathy’s passion was encouraging, inspiring, and teaching students throughout her rewarding career, and each and every one of her students were important to her. She was the rock of her family, and she thought being a grandmother was her greatest gift in life. Deeply loved, Kathy will be forever missed.

CUMMISKEY, Kathleen A.

Grand Rapids, MI

Loving mother, grandmother, educator and friend passed away November 7, 2021 at Spectrum Blodgett Hospital. Kathy was born August 24, 1944 in Durand, MI to the late Theodore and Violette (Collins) Cusack. She was also preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Dan; sister, Mary Ellen McKercher; and brother-in-law, Tom Taylor. She attended both Ferris State and Western Michigan Universities and was a dedicated teacher for 34 years. Kathy was always a positive presence in our world, every one of her students mattered to her. She is survived by her children, Patrick (Sasha) Cummiskey of Savage, MN, Joyce (Rorick) Miller of Grand Rapids; granddaughters, Abby and Olive; sister, Margaret Taylor of Big Rapids; brother-in-law, Patrick McKercher of Kalamazoo; several nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews. According to her wishes, cremation has taken place. A private memorial gathering will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to Hudson Educational Foundation. Please visit Kathy's memory page to read more of her life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.heritagelifestory.com.