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NAOMI LUCILLE CUSTER MAZE

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

(Photo)
MAZE
Naomi Lucille Custer Maze, daughter of George Lebbeus Custer and Glenn Dora Miller Custer, was born Sept. 6, 1916, at Grainola, Okla.

She peacefully departed this life on Nov. 5, 2011, while at Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott, Kan., at the age of 95 years. For the past 66 years, Naomi has resided on the family farm located in the Iantha community in Barton County, Mo.

On July 31, 1938, she married the love of her life, Vern Everett Maze.

To this union, two sons and two daughters were born: J.D. of Jackson, Tenn.; Guin Thomasson, married to Roy of Kansas City., Mo.; Marilyn Shore, married to Bob, of Linn Creek, Mo.; and Byron, married to Nancy, of Fort Scott, Kan.

She was preceded in death by her husband Vern, parents, three brothers, Harley, Mearl and Glen, and two sisters, Laura Harris and Ruby Williams.

Survivors include her children and brothers Morris and wife Ann, and Warren and wife Marilyn.

Also surviving are 11 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

Naomi was a natural born teacher. After graduating from Grainola High School in Oklahoma and one year of college at Arkansas City, Kan., Naomi began her 41-year teaching career in a one-room school at Pawnee, Okla. For the next 15 years, she taught in various schools in Oklahoma and Missouri.

During this time she continued her education, graduating from Oklahoma State University magna cum-laude with her bachelor's degree in education and later earning master's and specialist degrees from what is now Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.

In 1951 she began teaching in the Liberal School District. While there, she filled many roles besides teaching, such as school nurse, librarian, art teacher and elementary principal.

In 1961 she became part of the Belton, Mo., school system, retiring in 1977 as principal of Gladden Elementary. She continued her love for education by teaching GED classes in Lamar, Mo.

As recently as 2010, she was recognized as the "Missouri Retired Teacher's Association Distinguished Retiree of the Year" for Region 9.

At the time of her husband Vern's death in 1975 she started managing the farm, and after retiring became a full-time cattlewoman.

Naomi made an impact wherever she was. She was outgoing, vivacious and had a keen mind and caring, generous spirit. She led by example.

Throughout her lifetime, she was always interested in making positive contributions to both individuals and the community.

She served many years as an election official in her voting precinct. She was involved in extension club, 4-H, Little League, Cub Scouts and Retired Teachers. Naomi was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church, UMW and a Sunday School teacher for many years.

Family was always number one to Naomi. She looked forward to entertaining grandchildren and, in time, the great-grandchildren and their friends to have fun on the farm each summer. This soon became an eagerly anticipated annual event known as "Camp Win-O-Maze-O."

Another cherished event was the annual Labor Day weekend lake camping trip for the whole family where Naomi's yearly water-ski adventure took place. She had to forgo this skiing pleasure after her 76th birthday.

She also loved to travel with family. Two of the most memorable trips were to the Holy Land and the Peruvian Amazon Rain Forest.

Naomi was an avid reader, loved poetry, enjoyed sewing and bird watching and kept a beautiful iris garden which she eagerly shared with anyone who wanted a start.

She was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, caring neighbor and friend.

We celebrate her life and accomplishments and will treasure the memories she created for her family and friends.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at Iantha United Methodist Church, with burial in Iantha Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. Monday at Daniel Funeral Home in Lamar.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Iantha United Methodist Church in care of Daniel Funeral Home.

Condolences may be left at www.danielfuneralhome.net.