Elizabeth Cummings Browning, 53, of Falcon Heights, died May 24 of complications related to frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
A singer-songwriter, she performed under her maiden name, Liz Cummings, with a number of popular bands in the Twin Cities, including Liberty Street, Aisha’s Wild, Kurt Jorgenson, Tumblin’ Dice and the Flamin’ Ohs, and was a regular fill-in for bands that needed a singer or keyboardist who could step in on the spot.
She entertained diners at Famous Dave’s Uptown during happy hour for several years and was part of Straighten Up and Fly Right’s music-theater tribute to Nat King Cole and other productions.
The sixth of 10 children, Liz was born in Melrose Park, Ill., and got her start in music at the age of 4 when she fell in love with the piano. She moved to Missouri at age 12 and graduated from Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis. Liz graduated from Rockhurst University with a degree in psychology and philosophy, but music remained her calling.
Liz cut her first and only album, “Finally!,” at the age of 50, just as her brain-wasting disease began to hijack her personality.
While Liz found her voice in music, she found her purpose in being a mom to her two children, Nathan and Elsa, of Falcon Heights.
Liz worked part time at North Second Street Steel in Minneapolis for nearly 10 years, until June 2012,
when her illness made her unable to perform.
The last two years of her life were marked by a series of losses. She lost her job and alienated many friends and fellow musicians before anyone knew that a disease was twisting her personality into anger and bitterness.
In the last year of her life, Liz suddenly returned to her sweet, pleasant essence despite the pain and many indignities thrust upon her by her illness.
Liz was preceded in death by her parents, John and Mary Elizabeth Cummings of Monroe, La. She is survived by her husband of 23 years, Dan Browning; their children, Nathan and Elsa; three brothers; and six sisters.
Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at Corpus Christi Catholic Church on May 29, with interment at Roselawn Cemetery.