Mr. Mark Custer: A Tribute


Morgan Moomey, Jr. Editor

On January 2, Mr. Mark Custer passed away after battling brain cancer for a little over a year. Mr. Custer taught with Alliance Public Schools for the past 31 years, retiring last spring.

The life of Mr. Custer touched many students and teachers. “I met Mr. Custer shortly after I was hired as a new teacher for APS in 1991,” stated Ms. Roxie Smith. “Our rooms were next to each other at AMS. We were both from Wyoming and liked swapping stories about our home state. Mr. Custer was very passionate about his content. He was well prepared for his classes and engaged students in learning. He had a very caring heart and was always willing to help a student or staff member in need. I am going to miss our educational chats a lot.”

Mr. Joseph Mangas also shared a story about Mr. Custer. “I’ve always found Mr. Custer to be a very positive person. Even when dealing with personal or professional struggles, he always viewed everything in life with the optimistic “glass half full” mentality. I always enjoyed visiting with him before or after school when I would stop in to visit. His dedication to education and student success is truly inspirational to me. He is greatly missed!”

One final teacher, Mr. Joshua Allison, shared a story about Mr. Custer. “During my first semester, Mr. Custer and I both taught Physical Science, so we got to plan lessons together. One thing I learned from him is that ‘perfect is the enemy of the good.’ Trying to make lessons (or anything in life) perfect usually ends up in wasted time and stress. Put forth your best effort while being economical with your time and you’ll end up about as well off and much happier.”

Personally, Mr. Custer touched my life as well. I was lucky enough to have him as a teacher for both my freshman year for Earth science, and my sophomore year for advanced Earth science. Unfortunately, my younger brother never got to have Mr. Custer, but he has definitely heard stories from me. Mr. Custer also taught both of my parents, and some of my uncles. 

Not only was Mr. Custer an acclaimed teacher, but he was also an outstanding human-being. His obituary states, “Mark enjoyed anything outdoors; he was an avid fisherman, hunter, and camping enthusiast. Mark loved his motorcycles and enjoyed attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rallies. Mark loved good hunting dogs, his favorite being Gunnar. One of Mark’s greatest joys came later in life when he welcomed his first grandson, Will.”

In an interview I was fortunate enough to conduct with Mr. Custer last February, he stated, “It’s been a real eye-opening experience; to see just how positive things can be in your life and how important it is to be able to focus on the positive.” Even through his battle with cancer, Mr. Custer was always optimistic. Mr. Custer will forever hold a place in the heart’s of everyone he has ever taught. APS is very lucky to have had Mr. Custer as a teacher for 31 years.