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Southern California Live Steamers
Past Members In Memoriam

In memory of those SCLS passed members that have moved on to that final switch yard. We shall always remember you.

"A Railroad Prayer"

Oh Lord, now that I have flagged Thee, lift up my feet from the rough road of life and plant them safely on the deck of the train of salvation. Let me use the safety lamp known as prudence, join all of the couplings in the train with the strong arm of love, and let my hand lamp be the Bible. Heavenly Father keep all the switches closed that lead off to the sidings, especially those with a blind end. Oh Lord, if it be Thy pleasure, have every semaphore block along the line show the white light of hope that I may make the run of life without stopping. And Lord, give us the Ten Commandments for a schedule and when I finished on schedule time and pulled into the dark station of death, may the superintendent of the Universe say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, come and sign the payroll and receive the check of eternal happiness."

James Delor Cummings
January 20, 1920 – January 20, 2014

Although born in Preston, Idaho, Jim spent most of his life in California. He lived and worked for over 55 years in the SouthBay. He died in Lakewood/Long Beach, which was the former home of McDonnell Douglas Aircraft, where he was employed for 44 years as an engineer. He worked on various projects including the DC series, most esp. the DC-8, DC-9 and X-3. In 1968 he was highlighted as an “Engineering Personality of the Month.”

He was the oldest of five children, survived by Beulah, Donald and twins Barbara and Beverly. Their mother Anna tragically died young in 1928. Jim graduated from University High in 1937 and attended UCLA. He served in the US Army Air Corps during WWII. He was married for 70 years to Lillian (Hertan) Cummings and had three daughters: Joan (who preceded him in death), Jane, & Judy, and one son: James Dennis. Beloved of his extended family, Jim is also survived by granddaughters Stephanie Baker, JoAnn Compton, Carrie Greer and Caroline Fry and great-grandchildren Jacob, Victoria, Samantha, Vaughan and Jordan.

One of Jim's last projects, the completion of the club's F7 locomotive.

Jim was very creative and enjoyed photography, golfing, bowling and model-building, esp. of planes, trains & ships. He was life member in the SoCal Live Steamers of Wilson Park and the Maritime Modelers Club (radio-controlled boats). He was a volunteer at the LA Maritime Museum and Angels Gate. He is interred at Green Hills in the San Pedro WWII Memorial (Patriot Gardens) overlooking the San Pedro harbor. When it came to problem-solving he was unmatched in his genius ability to create the solution. His “can do” attitude and generosity as a tinker & handyman made an impact on all who knew him and will long be remembered.


Some of the many stationary steam engines that were built by Jim, all works of art!

Ed Nelson

On February 19, 2014, in Big Bear City, Ed passed away at home with his family, at the age of 93. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Nan, a daughter, 2 sons, 3 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren and 1 brother. One grandson predeceased him.

A native Californian, Ed was transferred to Wisconsin for 13 years by his employer. Upon his retirement in 1983, Nan and Ed moved back to California and settled in their retirement home in Big Bear City.

Ed served his country during WWII in the US Army Air Corps, and while serving in the European Theatre as a camera repairman developed a soft spot in his heart for the Lockheed P-38 Lightning as both a fighter and a high altitude recon plane that lasted the rest of his life.

He was a printer by trade, and loved his travels. He and his family enjoyed vacations in Big Bear beginning in the mid-1950s, bought their first part-time cabin in 1965, and became full-time residents here in 1983.

Ed's hobbies included photography, sailing, clocks and clock repair, and especially his model live steam locomotives. In the late 50's and early 60's Ed built a 1" 0-6-0, and the roster was later bolstered with the addition of a 1 1/2" 4-4-0 American as well as a 1" flatcar and a 1 1/2" reefer. Ed was a past president of Los Angeles Live Steamers (, a charter member of Riverside Live Steamers (, Goleta Valley Western RR, Southern California Live Steamers, Iowa Model Steam Engineers, and Western Antique Power Assoc.

He was also a member of the Masons, Shriners, and past Patron of Eastern Star, as well as the Bear Valley Historical Society. Per his wishes, there will be no services. A celebration of life will be held at RLS at a later date.

Submitted by Lee Nelson