McInnis & Holloway
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CUMMER, William Jackson (Bill)

July 6, 1922 – May 7, 2013

In his 91 years, oilman Bill Cummer nurtured a remarkable array of friendships through his achievements in business and community service. Long before “globally competitive” became a buzz-word, Bill helped transform a small Calgary drilling company into a multi-national enterprise.

Bill was born in Drumheller, the eldest of three sons of Jack and Laurine (Jackson) Cummer. He attended Central High School in Calgary, where an optional course in accounting unveiled a talent for finance that would help shape his career in business. Following a medical discharge from the army in 1943, he found work in the oil patch as a payroll clerk for a small drilling company, General Petroleum of Canada. The business grew and evolved and so did his career. From 1976 he directed the global operations of Westburne International Drilling Ltd. from his home in Bermuda. While working in Leduc in the late 1940s, he met Marion Murray of Edmonton, and the two eloped to California. That trip began a lifetime of travel for Bill and Marion, and the two explored the world together, including a trip to China in 1981 to help promote the American Stock Exchange. After his retirement as Vice Chairman of Westburne, Bill and Marion returned to Calgary in 1990 where he resumed his work with charitable organizations, especially the Optimist Club of Calgary, where he was a member for over 50 years. He helped charter many Optimist Clubs in Alberta.

As sidelines, Bill embarked on several business ventures of his own, including part ownership of Elkana Ranch in Bragg Creek. Bill was a quiet, private and gentle man – and a gentleman – well respected for his ethics and acumen, and beloved for his wisdom and sense of humour. Following a brief illness, he died quietly in his home, in the company of his family.

Bill was predeceased by his brothers Allen and Fred, his first wife Barbara (Nadeau), his beloved Marion, and is mourned by: his children Allen (Jan DeGrass), Don, Diane (David Wigington), Denise (Dolph) and Dean (Mark O’Neill); his grandchildren Jeffery Cummer, Daniel Cummer, William Cummer (Katie), Matthew Cummer, Jacob Cummer, Stephen MacDonald (Ashley), Cameron MacDonald (Patty), Melissa Bottoms (Kyle), Mike Dolph; and great-grandchildren Seanna, Fox, Charlotte, and Abigail, as well as family friend Verna Mae Gannon.

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be directed to the Optimist Club William J. Cummer Scholarship Fund by cheque to The Calgary Foundation, Suite 700, 999 8th Street SW, Calgary Alberta T2R 1J5, or online at

A visitation will be held at McInnis & Holloway’s Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W., Calgary, AB), Thursday, May 16, 2013 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Funeral service will be held at Lakeview United Church, 3023 63 Avenue S.W. on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Bill, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Doug, Micaela & Tyler Jensen :

    I was planning to telephone Bill as he has been on my mind lately. But we often don’t act fast enough and I regret not making that call. Micaela & I have been honoured to have known Bill & Marion. I visited their Bermuda home twice, once with Micaela. Bill was a wonderful man and now he is joined again with his lovely wife Marion. To the Cummer family, our thoughts are with you at this time of your loss.

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  2. Sandie & Brian Nixon :

    We were truly honoured to have met your dad. My earliest memories of him are when Denise and I were in elementary school and we went with him selling Easter baskets – probably a fund raiser for the Optimist Club! Brian and I also had the opportunity to dine with him a couple of times during our honeymoon in Bermuda and we will be forever grateful for our Bermuda experience. Good memories are a wonderful gift. Our thoughts are with each of you!

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  3. Glen Kreller :

    My condolences to Bill’s family,
    I have had the pleasure of knowing Bill and his many stories for many years at the District Optimist meetings. He will be missed greatly but his memories will last forever. May he Rest in Peace.
    Glen Kreller

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  4. David F Smith :

    Please accept our condolences from Helen and myself. I had the pleasure of knowing Bill for many years back from the G P Drilling and then Westburne Days. He was always a great guy and welcomed a new kid to the company. Thankfully we still have Reunions from the good old days. Bill was at the last one on April 27th and I had a visit with him. He is in a better place now. Rest in peace.
    Dave Smith

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  5. Maureen FitzGerald Hindmarch :

    I’m so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. He was such a wonderful person and I know he’ll be deeply missed. Unfortunately, Rick and I will be out of town and not able to attend the service. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all. We’re saddened for you and the loss of this fine man.

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  6. Don & Mary-Ann Harper :

    We have known Bill and Marion for about 40 yrs – and were sad when Marion passed on – and will miss Bill so much – they were both such an asset to us all we Loved them both – they are in a better place and safe in the Lord’s hands

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  7. My first memories of Bill go back decades, to time a when I was young and foolish. He was soft spoken,kind and extremely tolerent of my teenaged hijinx. His legacy reminds me of an Albert Pike quote “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

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  8. Martin & Gerrie Vander Meulen :

    Dear Cummer Family,
    Our sincere condolences with the passing of Bill Cummer. Attending the celebration of Bill’s life was a very positive experience for us. He will be missed but fondly remembered as a neighbour.

    Martin & Gerrie Vander Meulen

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