Cover photo for Helen McCarthy Cummings's Obituary
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1947 Helen 2023

Helen McCarthy Cummings

June 8, 1947 — September 26, 2023

Morehead City

Helen McCarthy Cummings died on September 25, 2023, at her home in Morehead City, NC after an inspirational five-year journey with cancer.

A celebration of a life well lived will be held at Munden Funeral Home in Morehead City, NC on Saturday, October 7th. The family will host a visitation starting at 10:00 a.m. and the service will immediately follow at 11:00 a.m.

Helen was born a twin with her brother George on June 8, 1947, in Needham, Massachusetts to the late Dorothea “Dot” Grace Crawley McCarthy and Wiliam Joseph McCarthy Jr. She was the fifth of nine children and always delighted in recounting the tall tales of “growing up McCarthy.”

Helen served as Student Body President of Western High School in Washington, D.C., and graduated in 1965. She attended the University of South Carolina with five of her siblings (Mike, George, Kevin, Glenda, and Mark) and graduated in 1969. She later received her Master of Education Administration from East Carolina University in 1986.

Helen was born to teach. She predominantly taught 8th Grade Math at Sampson Middle School in Clinton, NC, White Oak Elementary in Cape Carteret, NC, and Broad Creek Middle School in Newport, NC.  Helen later served as Vice Principal of Broad Creek Middle. She proudly finished her educational career as the Principal of Smyrna Elementary School.

Although she retired from education, Helen never stopped teaching.  She poured into her grandchildren’s daily lives helping them with homework, running them to practices, and finding numerous ways to invest in their development. She taught leadership and meditation classes to church groups, friends, and family. Her Great Clips family lovingly referred to her as the “Zen-Mother” as she repeatedly attempted to teach all that would listen that learning to be still was a skill and that leaning into the silence that followed was the path to a better way. There was a depth to Helen’s perspective on life that was a unique gift to all lucky enough to find themselves in her presence.

The best times of Helen’s life were the summers she spent at her family’s lake house on the North Shore of Great East Lake in East Wakefield, NH.  For the last 20 summers, Helen would host her friends, siblings, and their families to make memories of swimming, kayaking, fishing, and laughing under the swaying pines planted by her beloved grandfather “Bumpa” almost 100 years ago.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents and her siblings, William “Tracy” (Gail) McCarthy III, Brendan (Chris) McCarthy, and Christie (John) Stier.

She is survived by her former husband, Bob Cummings of Atlanta, GA; children, James (Sydney) Cummings of Morehead City, NC, and Janet (Roberto) Cummings of Atlanta, GA; her grandchildren, Rob, Adam, and Elena; siblings, Mike (Carol) McCarthy, George (Ann) McCarthy, Kevin (Molly) McCarthy, Glenda (John) Greenaway, and Mark (Anne) McCarthy; and too many beloved nieces and nephews to list.

The family would like to thank the entire staff of the RAAB Cancer Center at Carteret Health Care for extending Helen’s life and her friends Celia Bonaventura, Sally Davis, and Barbara Brewer for their unwavering support.

In remembrance of Helen’s life, the family asks that any charitable donations be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plains ( ).

Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Helen McCarthy Cummings, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, October 7, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.

2112 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.

2112 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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