Re: “Obituary: Cummings, powerful Dem who led Trump probe” [Oct. 18, A2]:

More than once, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings referenced his sharecropper roots so as to project the humility of his past, the distance he had risen, not to brag but to demonstrate to others of modest means, of nondescript upbringing, of race and status never before so honored, what was possible.

He had risen above, and by acting with grace and utmost respect in the way he treated others, he showed us all how to be civil to our fellow man. A student of history, he often spoke of problem resolution in terms of what was possible, never saying something can’t be done. To the outrageous, he often used the phrase, “come on, man” in calling a big talker to task for over-the-top behavior. His soliloquy scolding acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker for his rude testimony will live in infamy as the way to bring down someone so out of line without resorting to profanity or worse.

In a way, he was America’s conscience, delivered with strength and deep kindness rarely if ever seen before. RIP, Rep. Cummings. We hope our only son embodies values you taught so many for so long.

Bruce Jarvis, Sammamish