James C. Custer, age 89, of Wisconsin Rapids, passed away Friday, October 12, 2018.
A Life Celebration Service will take place at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, October 20, 2018 at First Congregational Church UCC in Wisconsin Rapids, located at 311 Second Street South. Reverend Missy Miller will officiate. Burial will take place later. A time of visitation, for family and friends, will take place on Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 9:30 A.M. until the time of the service at the church. Herman-Taylor Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family. Online condolences may be expressed at www.taylorfuneralhome.net.
Jim was born on April 3, 1929 in Mineola, NY to Ralph and Helen (Corkey) Custer. He attended Garden City High School in Garden City, NY, where he played on an undefeated football team and was named to the All Scholastic Lacrosse Team. Jim received his engineering degree from Purdue University. While attending Purdue, he a was member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, and was named to Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering honor society. James was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, and entered the United States Navy upon graduation. He served on the destroyers USS Hollister and the USS McNair during the Korean War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant.
He married Patricia Sanders on July 1, 1951. Patricia tragically died of cancer in 1963, leaving Jim in charge of 5 boys, the oldest of whom was 11 and the youngest 3. He faced this challenge with a selfless dedication that has been a model to his children throughout their lives. That notwithstanding, it was a great blessing when he met and fell in love with Phyllis Larsen and married her on June 11, 1966. With the addition of Barbara and Gary Larsen, the family began a boisterous and complex life that was never dull, and often a lot of fun, at least for the kids.
Jim loved curling and was a proud member of the Tri City Curling Club. He was an expert fisherman, who tied his own flies for years. Jim enjoyed exploring the world as a ham radio operator, and his call sign, WB9FNJ, was his license plate number and his email address. He was also in the Cranmoor Gun Club. For many years he was an active member of the Rotary and the United Church of Christ. He participated in community service wherever he lived. Jim devoted his entire career to the paper industry, and in addition to working at 3M in Wisconsin Rapids, he also worked in Neenah, and Wausau, as well as in Minnesota, Indiana, and Alabama. Jim served as President of Flambeau Paper in Park Falls.
James is survived by his loving wife of 52 years, Phyllis; his children: Jeff (Leslie) Custer, Gary (Patricia) Larsen, Tom Custer, Barbara (David) Cobb, Bill (Wendy) Custer, and James (Betty) Custer, Jr.; he is further survived by his brothers: Robert Custer and John Custer. He was delighted by his grandchildren: Mark Custer, Jameson Larsen, Laura Hatmaker, James Custer III, Meredith Trzebiatowski, Sam Custer, Rose Custer, Genevieve Weeks, and Sarah Baptiste, and was especially proud of his great grandchildren: Dorothy Hatmaker, Hudson Weeks, Thatcher Weeks, Kendrick Baptiste, and Sullivan Weeks. Most recently, the pain of his passing was lightened by the birth on October 11 of the newest great-grandchild, Leo Trzebiatowski.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Helen Custer; his wife, Patricia Sanders, and his son, Michael Custer.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be forwarded to the SWEPS Food Pantry or the Education Fund for the Port Edwards School District, or the Rotary Charities.