Elizabeth Wampler Custer
Elizabeth Wampler Custer, known by her family and many friends as Mama Libby, passed away Aug. 10 at her home in Hinton.
She was born March 27, 1913, second daughter of Charles W. Wampler Sr. and Sadie Ziegler Wampler at Morven Park, Leesburg, Va. She lived all her life except for the first few months in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg.
Although she lived a long life the true measure of a person is not the number of their years but the life they put into those years. Libby led a full and productive life. There were few business, civic or social activities in Rockingham County she wasn’t part of.
Last year the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors formally recognized her for “her many contributions to Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, which have helped to make our community strong and vibrant.”
In 1947, she and her husband, Harry Custer, started H.L. Custer Poultry in Hinton on the site now occupied by Virginia Poultry Growers Coop. In 1969, they merged with Wampler Feed & Seed Company to form Wampler Foods, later becoming WLR Foods. In those early years there were very few jobs in the processing plant she did not do. She described herself as a “Retired Chicken Plucker.”
She was a charter member and past president of both The Sherwood Garden Club and the local TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Chapter and past president of the Harrisonburg Business and Professional Women’s Club. She served as a volunteer Red Cross Nurse during World War II and was the first woman appointed to the Rockingham County Selective Service Board. Libby was named Virginia Mother of the Year in the early ‘50s. She was elected a Virginia 4-H All Star and served as a 4-H leader for many years.
She graduated from Dayton High School at 16. As a teenager she raised a Champion Prize Winning hog and used the prize money for a year at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
She participated in the first planning committee for the Rockingham County Fair and proposed her brother, Charles Wampler Jr., as “Temporary” president. A position he held for 25 years. This will be the first time in 70 years she has not attended the Fair. During those years she has chaired various exhibit departments, managed commercial exhibits and coordinated entertainment.
In her 80s and 90s she gave scores of philosophical/humorous speeches throughout the State. Many who heard her talks recall her tag line, “Get up, Dress up and Show up,” which was a succinct characterization of how she lived her life. Her oil paintings, mostly of area landscapes, are in numerous area homes and offices. Many of her paintings were displayed for a Solo Exhibit at the Heritage Museum in Dayton, and in 2012 she was presented the Centennial Award for her many years of service to the museum.
She was an avid Bridge player, active in numerous Bridge Groups and always ready as a last-minute substitute for other clubs.
She adored celebrations and holidays. Her favorite was Halloween. She was known for her decorations and every year a hundred or more little witches and goblins came to her door to get a peanut butter cup and a shiny new quarter.
She is survived by two daughters, Kay Powell, of Lewes, Del., and Judy Hulslander, of Eureka, Mont.; one son, Stephen Custer, of Richmond, Va.; nine grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren.
There will be a memorial service at her childhood home, On Sunny Slope Farm, Aug. 23, 2019, at 11 a.m.
GPS Venue Entrance
1000 Erickson Avenue
Harrisburg, VA 22801
In lieu of flowers, send donations to Heifer International, www.heifer.org.
Arrangements entrusted to Johnson Funeral Service in Bridgewater.