Bert Cumby, 69, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Foreign Service officer who was active in political and civic affairs in Montgomery County, died of cancer Tuesday at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He lived in Silver Spring.
In 1977, Col. Cumby, who retired from the federal government in the 1970s, was appointed to a four-year term on the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. He also was a member of the Montgomery County Commission on Aging and the Montgomery County Employment Development Commission.
In addition, he was a member of the health planning committee of Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring and a member of the board of directors of the National Children's Center in Washington.
Col. Cumby's military career began during World War II. He enlisted in June 1942 and received his commission the following year. He saw action with the 92nd Infantry Division in Italy.
He served in Korea during the conflict there. Stationed at Panmunjom, he debriefed returning Americans who had been prisoners of war. He also attempted to persuade those who initially said they wished to stay in North Korea to return to this country.
Much of his military career was spent in intelligence work. His posts included those of chief of the research branch of military intelligence in Washington and as an instructor at the Army Intelligence School in Baltimore.
Col. Cumby retired from active duty in 1961. His decorations included the Soldier's Medal and the Bronze Star.
In 1963, he became a Foreign Service officer in the State Department. He was a security attache in Thailand and Spain before retiring a second time about 1973.
He was president of the Montgomery County chapter of the Retired Officers Association and a member of the Military Order of the World Wars. He was a life member of the Men's Club of Synagogue Israel.
Col. Cumby, who was born in Corinth, Miss., was a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. He worked in the funeral business before moving to Washington and working for the Interior Department before enlisting in the Army. He did graduate work at American University.
Survivors include his wife, Esther, of Silver Spring; two sons, Bert Jr. and Frank, both of Washington, and two sisters, Alice Ross of Memphis and Lillian Johnson of Chicago.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the National Children's Center, Washington, D.C., or to Grace Episcopal Church, Silver Spring, Md.