Alison Cummins

Memorial Gathering

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Burroughs, Kohr & Dangler Funeral Home
106 Main Street
Madison, New Jersey, United States

Obituary of Alison E. Cummins

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Alison Elizabeth Cummins, 75, of South Orange, New Jersey, formerly of Florham Park, New Jersey, passed away at 11 a.m. on August 20, 2021, in a hospice room at Morristown Medical Center with her beloved husband by her side.  Alison had learned her cancer had metastasized at the beginning of May and made a conscious choice to stop treatment and go into palliative care, avoiding more pain from processes that were very likely futile. In a very real sense her final days were a gradual passage from awareness and reaction to silence and seeming lack of response, yet, full of messages from family and friends, read by her husband, Walter, as it is said hearing is the last sense to leave the body. Alison was known for being verbal, capable of multi-hour phone conversations with friends, outspoken with social and political outrage, vivid in her memories, deep in her connections with people. Alison was happy with her and Walter’s homes and travels together, her work as a professional, her friendships, and her and Walter’s daughters and granddaughter and their partners. Alison has broad experience in both the pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries. Her extensive travel throughout Europe and the United States contributed to her participation in a number of international business projects. Before her retirement in 2005, Alison was a communications consultant who conceived and wrote award-winning brochures and magazines, developed communications plans for marketing projects and organized media events and public presentations. Her writing projects include speeches for CEO's and other executives, capability brochures, feature articles and press releases. From 1985 to 1990, she devoted full-time to communications assignments with several AT&T companies, including AT&T Bell Laboratories, AT&T International, AT&T Business Systems and AT&T Consumer Products. From 1990 to 1997, she served as a consultant to the companies comprising Johnson & Johnson's Pharmaceutical Sector -- Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Ortho Biotech Inc., The R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute (PRI), Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Johnson & Johnson's corporate communications group. At Johnson & Johnson, she conceptualized, wrote, and edited six company publications, including the inauguration of a single magazine for all the sector companies. She worked closely with designers and photographers to develop the visual concepts of each publication as well as selecting subject content. The 50th anniversary brochure Alison conceptualized and wrote for Ortho Pharmaceutical won several awards for its design and contents. Other award-winning projects she managed include the Science Career Ladder brochure for PRI and an "Ortho Woman of Excellence" piece. Her speeches and scripts at J&J were written for both internal and external audiences, such as presentations to Congressional staff members, honors awards to outstanding scientists, groundbreaking ceremonies in Canada and Europe and explanations of scientific data to business audiences. Her feature writing for J&J emphasized technical subjects, winning her praise for her ability to make complex scientific and medical subjects clear and interesting to a wide audience. She also wrote video scripts. In addition, Alison conceived and developed one of Johnson & Johnson's first electronic newsletters on the intranet, as well as developing Web-site material for Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical research organizations. Alison completed a year-long series of projects for Schering Labs, the pharmaceutical sector of Schering-Plough Corporation. Her work included developing strategic plans, writing issues-related statements, and writing articles for doctors, HR professionals and managed-care executives. She developed a plan and talking points for a series of coalition building breakfasts on DTC advertising with top broadcast and media executives and Schering's letters from Schering's president to the 35,000 members of the American Academy of Family Physicians.  Alison conceptualized and wrote a piece on the value of DTC advertising for Schering's vice president of marketing. The essay was submitted in a Financial Times contest. She also wrote and placed a number of articles in trade magazines under her own byline and those of prominent physicians. Her articles appeared in the June 1999 supplement of Newsweek; the August 1999 issue of The Female Patient and the November 1999 issue of Managed Healthcare, a business magazine that reaches 200,000 healthcare decision makers. Alison's many visits to gardens in Great Britain and on the Continent inspired her devotion to her own abundant gardens and rooms of house plants. Alison is survived by her beloved husband of forty years, Walter Cummins, their cherished daughters, Pamela Cummins and her partner, Christopher Quintana, of Jacksonville, North Carolina and Jennifer Grassi and her husband, Frank, of Morehead, North Carolina, and her adoring granddaughter, Cynthia Garrison and her husband, Travis, of Idyllwild, California. A Memorial Gathering will be held on Sunday, September 12, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Burroughs, Kohr & Dangler Funeral Home, 106 Main Street, Madison. 
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