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Robert Edward Custer
  • 91 years old
  • Date of birth: Sep 26, 1922
  • Place of birth:
    Detroit, Michigan, United States
  • Date of passing: Jan 18, 2014
  • Place of passing:
    Fallbrook, California, United States
Let the memory of Robert be with us forever

Commander Robert Edward Custer, US Navy Ret. of Rainbow, passed away on Saturday, January 18, 2014 in Fallbrook, at age 91. 

Born September 26, 1922, in Detroit, MI, son of George and Caroline Ann Gamstetter Custer, Robert was a member of The Greatest Generation having proudly served our country aboard aircraft carriers as a torpedo bomber pilot during WW II.

Robert was one of 378 crew members that were rescued out of heavy seas at night, while being strafed by Japanese aircraft after the sinking of the USS Bismark Sea (CVE-95), during the battle of Iwo Jima.  Cdr. Custer was known for his superb flying skills, was trained on over 24 aircraft, test flew, and instructed others in carrier landings as well as drone operation.  He was active in the Navy for 23 years. His experience is online in the National WWII Memorial.  Access it at

He and his wife purchased 20 acres in Rainbow in 1961, farmed it, built a home, and were full-time residents since 1971.

Robert's greatest joys were spending time with his family, flying, and growing fruit and nut trees.

Robert was preceded in death by his parents, brothers George and James, grandson Michael, and great grandson Ryan.  He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years Bernice, sister Patricia Olson, five children and their spouses: Linda (Randy) Hartman, Robert (Susie) Custer, Diana (Thomas) Raidy, David (Cindy) Custer, and John (Susan) Custer; ten grandchildren and their spouses: Robert (Caryn), Jennifer (Scott), Jeffrey, Kristy, Stephanie (Thomas), Gregory (Sara), Robyn, Kathryn, Eric (Tamara), and Allen; and six great-grandchildren: Caralyn, Cathryn, Max, Cristyn, Amelia, and Alexander.

Services will be private.
The Custer family would like to thank Country Gardens of Fallbrook and their terrific staff of caregivers for their outstanding care and compassion.


Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Douglas Walkley on 22nd November 2016

"Although I only know his offspring, I can see that Bob was an interesting man who had and full satisfying life"

This tribute was added by Cindy Custer on 1st September 2014

"Dad, I still think of you everyday, with loving memories."

This tribute was added by Robyn Custer on 29th January 2014

"Grandpa, I remember when we were younger how you'd tease us with your 'magic' tricks: finding quarters behind our ears and pulling your thumb off your hand. You'd play with us and build fun things for us to do around the ranch: go-cart track, tree house, bb gun and archery station, trampoline, swimming pool, tennis court, etc. You'd take us around on the tractor and we'd 'help' you with the groves. I remember your warmth and great sense of humor. I'll miss you."

This tribute was added by Rob Hartman on 28th January 2014

"Grandpa was one of the most giving people I’ve ever met, and the same could be said of grandma.  He was a true servant, serving his country and others throughout his life.  I think most of it was spent doing things for others rather than himself.  He was a great role model for me, and I’m so thankful that he has been such a profound part of my life.  I hope it could be said that when I finish, I was half the man my grandpa was.  I can say, even now, that a lot of what is good in me is because of the influence he has had in my life.  I’m really going to miss him."

This tribute was added by kathy custer on 27th January 2014

"Grandpa, I'm going to miss you so much. You were always so kind, loving and eager to share funny jokes. I have so many good memories from the times we spent together. I love you."

This tribute was added by Alan Landros on 25th January 2014

"Remembering Bob's long and remarkable life.  Even though he was this age, I know it's still hard to say good-bye.  God bless all of you during this time of adjustment."

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This memorial is administered by:

Diana Raidy


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