In Memory of
U.S. Marine Corps Master Sergeant Sturgis, South Dakota
Meade County

February 14, 1931 – October 19, 1952
Died in Car Accident near Sturgis while on Leave


Lester Dean Cummings was born in Promise, South Dakota, on February 14, 1931, to Mr. Walter and Mrs. Lavon (Johnson) Cummings. Lester had three sisters: Allegro, Geneva, and Barbara, and six brothers Walter, Corneleis, James, Herbert, Frank, and Richard. At some point, the family moved to the Black Hills, and Lester went to Deadwood High School. Before he entered the service, he worked at various jobs in Deadwood and Lead.

Lester Dean Cummings entered active service in the U.S. Marine Corps in on March 26, 1951, at Rapid City. He was a member of the 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. Sgt. Cummings came home on leave in October of 1952. Just prior to returning to duty with the Marines, Cummings received word (that later turned out to be false) that his brother was seriously hurt in a car accident nearby. He and five others raced to scene of the first accident; as they arrived, their vehicle missed the same curve, repeatedly rolled, and “came to rest about 150 feet” from the first car. Master Sergeant Lester Dean Cummings was killed as were four others in the car. After his funeral service at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, he was buried with military honors at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Chantelle Rae Janke, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota on July 28, 2004. An application for a SD veteran’s bonus, the South Dakota National Guard Museum, and the Sturgis Tribune from October 23, 1952, provided information for this entry. Memorial stone photo by Mrs. Hansen. (P/S/F/A 8/3/04).