Florence's Story

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CUSTER, Florence Ann "Skip" (Heim) died March 1, 2017 in Honey Brook, PA in hospice care at Tel Hai Retirement Village. Skip asked us to write her obituary and say only "she was born, she lived, she died." So she did. But...Heaven was rewarded with a new and special angel. She was Mom, Grandma, Skip to all her loving family, many dear friends, and her caregivers. She hated being the center of attention despite the fact that she was always the most beautiful person, inside and out, in the room.

Skip was a caring and compassionate friend, nurse or companion to anyone who needed her. Her children's friends described her as their "second mom." She was self-described as so-so at bridge, pretty good at crossword puzzles, a terrible bowler, a good fisherman with a hand line, and a game world traveler. 

She was a dear friend to many, including the "girls" of her beloved Wednesday night bridge club, where they had more fun than cards. She loved to "do lunch," and there was no such thing as too much Italian food or chocolate. 

The irony of her was she was an unbelievably solid rock for all other people, yet tried to be an island herself. She never wanted to be a bother, as if she ever could have been. She always believed everyone else needed something more than she. She loved the frugality associated with her Scottish heritage, but was so generous she always wanted to give you gas money just for coming to visit her. 

Skip was born November 4, 1923 in Johnstown, PA. She was the loving and dutiful daughter of the late Jane Lees Heim and Dallas W. Heim. Growing up she lived in many places including Ferndale, Twin Rocks, Meyersdale, the 8th Ward, Southmont and Alameda, CA.
For more than 50 years she was the devoted wife of Warren L. Custer, the love of her life. She was a dear friend of James Geiser. Skip was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Warren; their first born son, Stanton Heim Custer; and her brother, Dallas W. "Boots" Heim, Jr. She is survived by her son Everett W. Custer and his wife, her second "daughter" Linda Clites of Coatesville, PA; daughter Sue and son-in-law Bob Vrabel, whom she thought was so darn funny, of Pittsburgh.
She is also survived by her five grandchildren who thought she was the best grandmother ever: Ann Marie Vrabel (#1) and her partner Michael Berlanger of Baltimore, MD, Amanda Custer Sharp and her husband Ryan of Exton, PA; Adam Vrabel and his wife Cynthia Miley-Vrabel of Pittsburgh; Stanton Custer and his partner Jessie King of Charleston SC; Kate Custer Kwedar and her husband Joshua of Bridgeport, PA. Skip delighted in the antics, songs and dances of her 4 beautiful great-granddaughters Camille and Penelope Kwedar, Caroline Sharp and Cecilia Vrabel. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Caryl Custer Lamb, of Towson, MD, nieces Diane Saxton, Janice Contestabile, Leslie Herkamp and Lauren Pelc, and nephew Charlie Rafferty. Also surviving is her cousin Vic Trabold and his wife Louise, of Johnstown, and many other cousins. Skip will be missed by her caregivers at Tel Hai, especially those at Adult Day Services, who thought she was the sweetest.

Skip was a 1941 graduate of Johnstown High School, and a graduate of Cambria-Rowe Business College. She also attended Slippery Rock College. Her proudest achievement was graduating first in her class at Westmoreland County Community College in 1978 and achieving her goal as a licensed practical nurse. 

There will be no viewing as Skip has willed her remains to Humanities Gifts for medical research. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, April 8 at 1:30 at John Henderson Co. Funeral Home 215 Central Ave. Memorial gifts: may be sent to Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped, or the Tel Hai Care Fund.
Published on March 16, 2017
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