John Riley Cumbus

August 6, 1934 - March 10, 2024
John Riley Cumbus

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John Riley Cumbus of Wilmington, NC, died on Sunday, March 10, surrounded by his loved ones at age 89.

John was born to George and Ruby Cumbus in Montgomery, AL but spent his formative years in Greenville, SC. After graduating from The Citadel in civil engineering and serving two years in the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, he worked for years with both Daniel and Weaver construction companies before opening his own firm in Greensboro, NC. In Wilmington, he was a project consultant for the Brunswick County Courthouse and Watermark Marina Clubhouse. Of the many structures he built across those decades, he was most pleased with the renovation of the Westminster Presbyterian Church sanctuary in Greensboro. Over the years, John enjoyed golf, sailing, boating, horseback riding, snow skiing, and tennis with family and friends.

After moving to Wilmington, John found his church home in Winter Park Presbyterian. From finding ways to serve faithfully as elder, deacon, unofficial photographer, heartiest hand-shaker—to finding great love—meeting his beloved wife, Sue, and their wonderful circle of friends, the Winter Park community carried them through difficult times and celebrated with them in joy.

John’s loved ones remember him as a true Southern gentleman—mannerly and gentle, usually sporting a bowtie. This photograph captures the twinkle in his blue eyes and reminds us of his heartfelt smile, booming welcome, and sense of humor. He had a steadfast love for his children and grandchildren of whom he was extremely proud. In spite of years of declining health, he and Sue spent many happy days, rarely missing Panthers football or Duke basketball games and always making time to discuss the “good ol’ days.”

John is survived by Sue, his wife of 23 years; his sister Mary Sue Conger (Steve) and brother George (Brenda); his dear children Jay (Gayle), Sara, and Michael (James); grandchildren Emily, Caroline, Jace, and Alex; great-grandchildren Noah and Olivia; stepchildren Amy Bennett, Charlie Krohn (Jenny), and John Krohn (Jennifer); step-grandchildren Lydia, Owen, and Ella; and granddogs Sunny, Daisy, and Cooper. With a large extended family, he will be missed by many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

The family extends our deepest gratitude to our minister, Emile Harley, for his guidance and friendship throughout John’s caretaking years and end of life. We are also thankful for the medical professionals who brought comfort, guidance, and care.

A celebration of his life will be held at Winter Park Presbyterian Church, 4501 Wrightsville Ave., March 23, 11:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to Winter Park Presbyterian Church, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, or the Citadel Foundation Scholarship Fund.

Share memories and condolences to the Cumbus family by visiting the “Tribute Wall”.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403


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