Phyllis Nason Cummings Corcoran
July 27, 1924 to December 26, 2019
On December 26, we lost Phyllis Nason Cummings Corcoran, 95. Phyllis was born in 1924 in Hiram, and spent the next ten decades as a Maine resident. But a fridge covered with state-shaped magnets proved she was not afraid to leave the state--and was afraid of little else. Adept at everything she needed to do whether handling a workhorse, driving a tractor or baking cookies, Phyllis was hard-working, generous and a caring mother, grandmother and friend. Her ceaseless mind and memory fueled her nickname, “Gray News Junior”.
As a child, she lived with her family in Hiram and South Portland before settling at Dutton Hill Farm in Gray for the duration of the Great Depression. By the time she reached 17 years, she was “Mom” to her younger siblings at the death of their mother. Even so, she graduated that year from Pennell Institute and worked at the Gray Telephone Company.
In 1943, she married Milo Cummings II of Gray, and they moved to the Cummings farm and began their own family. He served in WWII, and afterwards, with farming in decline, they moved to Cumberland. But a fatal accident left Phyllis a widow with five children under the age of 8.
She became a housekeeper at the local Wilson farm during school hours, the youngest in tow. In 1955, she married Horace Corcoran and they had three more children. Now a stay-at-home mother of eight, she was known as Mom, Ma, Mrs. Cummings, and Mrs. Corcoran to the neighborhood kids who swung through the house regularly. She refused to sit until all had been served dinner, peering over all from her stove.
In 1967, the family moved to Freeport, to follow Horace’s dream of running his own poultry farm. Phyllis, with the few moments of free-time her younger children allowed, helped on the farm and worked as a CNA at a local nursing home. When they gave up the poultry farm, they moved back to the farm in Gray. Phyllis worked at Humphrey’s Poultry Farm and as a CNA at Pineland. A work-related injury finally forced Phyllis to sit.
But her tireless drive now turned the family farm into a true family farm--with six of her eight children building their own homes and family on the farm property. Horace passed in 1979, but Phyllis thrived with so much family close at hand. She became an involved grandmother, but she wasn’t ready to retire, and she began to travel extensively with her sister-in-laws and daughters. Venezuela, England, Prince Edward Island and many states felt her eagle eye, and there were few nooks in Maine’s Casco Bay that escaped her notice. She seemed to be on the road so much that her children pleaded with her to leave a note on the kitchen table as to where she was!
It is said that only busy people know how to really relax--and Phyllis is no exception. Where else but Denmark camp could she get all the family together, more than 60 at a time, for the family fun, games and camaraderie that they’d long had, and where the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren could experience the joys of large families that Phyllis had long been a part of.
Phyllis was able to live at home until 95 years of age, and has been cared for and loved tirelessly by her family, friends, and health care staff of Falmouth by the Sea, Friends-in-Home Care, and Compassus Hospice. Special thanks to the wonderful staff at Famouth by the Sea for all their love and attention and to Compassus Hospice for their love, care and support.
Phyllis was predeceased by her parents, her nine siblings, grandson Matthew Cummings, and one son, Milo Cummings III. She is survived by Earle Cummings of Windham, Catherine Cummings Wright of Cumberland, and Nancy Cummings Ashley, Daniel Cummings, Donald Corcoran, Betsy Corcoran and Bruce Corcoran of Gray, along with 13 grandchildren, and 26 plus great-grandchildren.
Phyllis will be sadly missed but she is very deserving of her final rest. The family will be celebrating her life at a future date in full knowledge that she will be looking down to be sure we are doing it properly.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you do a random act of kindness while thinking of Phyllis.
“My life’s been full, I savored much. Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.”
To send flowers to Phyllis' family, please visit our floral section.