James Custer, Jr., age 97 of Bear Lake, passed away on Wednesday August 12, 2020 at home.
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He was born on January 15, 1923 in Johnstown, PA, son of the late James Roscoe and Ethel P. (Levergood) Custer. James enlisted in the United States Army on January 13, 1943, serving during World War II, with the 2nd Armored Division “Hell on Wheels”, in France, Belgium and Germany until he was honorably discharged on March 13, 1946. Jim was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Germany.
After the war Jim moved to California and was a co-owner of Reynolds & Custer Cafe in Los Angeles. He later moved back to Michigan and became an Allen Park police officer, where he met Mary Catherine “Kay” Kirkland. Jim married Kay on October 16, 1948 at the Ecorse United Presbyterian Church in Ecorse, MI. He worked for Burroughs Corporation, as an electrical engineer, until he retired.
Jim and Kay raised their daughters in Allen Park, MI. They retired to Bear Lake 39 years ago. They enjoyed the 25 winters that they spent in Gulf Shores, AL.
He was an active member of the Bear Lake Lion’s Club and was an avid hunter, golfer, fisherman and devoted Detroit Tigers fan.
James is survived by his 2 daughters, Debbie (Dave) Koch and Cindy (Bill) Booth; 4 grandchildren Michael (Shannon) Koch, Jennifer (Craig) Roddis, Jessica (Brian) Camilleri and Christie (Justin) Smith; 5 great-grandchildren, Katelyn, Andrew and Brooklyn Koch, CeCe and Crosby Camilleri. He is also survived by 3 sisters-in-law, Carol Morris, Bess Kirkland and Sue Kirkland; 2 brothers-in-law, Jerry Kirkland and Richard Kirkland; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends survive.
He was preceded in death by Kay on Feb. 8, 2013 and his infant daughter, Phyllis, on August 27, 1949.
Cremation has taken place and no service is planned at this time. Final interment will take place at Pleasanton Township Cemetery at a later date.
Memorial contributions in memory of James may be directed to the Bear Lake Promoters, P.O. Box 141 Bear Lake, MI 49614.
Feel free to share a memory or photo with James family at www.oakgrovefh.com. The family has entrusted funeral arrangements with Oak Grove Funeral Home & Cremation Center of Manistee.