Published in The Capital Gazette on May 3, 2017
James R Cumberpatch
James R. Cumberpatch, Colonel, USAF (Ret) passed
away on April 28, 2017 at his assisted living facility in
Harwood, MD following a brief illness.
Born on June 8, 1922 at the Fort Sam Houston Army
General Hospital in San Antonio, TX to the late James
T. and Louise K. Cumberpatch. His father, a career
Army Air Corp officer, earned his pilots wings in 1917.
James followed in his footsteps, attending the U. S
Military Academy at West Point and graduating on
June 6, 1944, part of the 'D-Day Class.' After
graduation he was trained and qualified to fly B-24
bombers. Before he could be assigned duty in
Europe, he was sent to B-29 training. He completed
B-29 combat crew training as an airplane commander and was assigned to the 93rd
Bombardment Squadron on Guam. Shortly after his arrival on Guam, in July of 1945, the War
in the Pacific ended. Later he was adjutant of the 31st Air Service Group, 314th Bomb Wing,
20th Air Force, Guam. In 1946 he was transferred to the Operations Division of the 5th Air
Force Headquarters, Nagoya, Japan.
On returning to the States, he attended the Georgia institute of Technology where he received
BS and MS Degrees in Aeronautical Engineering in 1949 and 1950. Subsequent tours of duty
included assignments as a project engineer in the Jet Fighter Branch at Air Material
Command HQ in Dayton, OH and Chief of the Production Branch in the Office of the Air Force
Plant Representative at the Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, CA. During this
assignment he flew over 250 acceptance test flights in factory new T-33 and F-94C jet
fighters. In 1953 he graduated from the Jet Fighter Command Gunnery School at Nellis AFB,
NV, was promoted to Major and then served in Korea as the Executive Officer of the 336th
Fighter Interceptor Squadron (The Fabulous Rocketeers), 4th Fighter Wing at the Kimpo
Airbase flying combat missions in the F-86E Sabre Jet.
Returning stateside, he attended and graduated from the Air Command and Staff School at
Maxwell AFB, AL, in 1955. In 1956 he was assigned as Chief of the Plans and Management
Office, Production Directorate, Sacramento Air Material Command. From 1957 to 1959 he
served as Assistant Chief of Staff of this command which consisted of 27,000 military and
civilian personnel. He was then selected to be an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, MA where he received an MS in Industrial
Management. From 1960 -1963 he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air
Force, Washington, DC, as an Air Force Liaison Officer with members of the U. S. Congress.
He was promoted to Lt. Colonel in 1963 and served as Assistant Executive Officer to the
Deputy Chief of Staff, R & D, USAF, at the Pentagon. In 1964 he was promoted to Colonel
and was the Director, Command Secretariat of the Air Force Systems Command at Andrews
Air Force Base, MD. He served in that position until he retired from active duty in 1968.
He was awarded the Army Commendation Ribbon and three Air Force Commendation
Medals. After retiring from the Air Force he worked as a Production Manager for Garrett
AiResearch in Torrance, CA. Next, he became Executive Vice President of Program Control
Corporation, a software company, where he directed the development of the 'Mark III' project
management computer software, one of the first successful project management computer
systems introduced in the 1970's. He then founded Decision Technology Corporation, a
project management consulting firm specializing in the design and implementation of project
management methodologies, development and implementation of project management policy
and procedures, software development, and in-house project management seminars and
He personally conducted several hundred seminars, across the United States, Canada,
Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. Clients included Fortune 500 companies, government and DoD
agencies, and ARAMCO, in Saudi Arabia. He fully retired in 1996. Col. Cumberpatch was a
member of the Army-Navy Club, The Order of Daedalians, The Quiet Birdmen, the Lost Patrol,
the Sabre Jet Association, and the West Point Association of Graduates.
He served many years on the Advisory Board for the Centers for the Handicapped, in Silver
Spring, MD. He was an avid rail roader, always building layouts and tinkering with 027 gauge
Lionel model trains.
He is survived by his children, John (Paige) Cumberpatch of Sherwood Forest, MD, Michael
(Lynn) Cumberpatch of Annapolis, MD, Mary Louise (Robert Durbin) Cumberpatch of
Kensington, MD, Thomas (Lisa) Cumberpatch of Annapolis, MD, Mark (Sharon) Cumberpatch
of Murrells Inlet, SC and Joseph Cumberpatch of Silver Spring, MD; his grandchildren, Lily,
Kate, Chris, Liz, Jody, Colleen and Ian Cumberpatch and Clara and Patrick Durbin.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary O. Cumberpatch, and his second wife, Eloise
Mahon Cumberpatch. His oldest son, James R. 'Rick' Cumberpatch was killed in Vietnam
June 23, 1966, while serving as a combat medic with the 1st Air Cavalry Division.
Memorial services and inurnment will be private.
Donations, in his memory may be made to the 'Cadet Activities Fund (DCA)' of the West
Point Association of Graduates. https://www.westpointaog.org/GiftsInMemory
Condolences may be made online at: www.KalasFuneralHomes.com