The official site of the City of Renton

You are here : City News

Former Renton Mayor Passes

November 2, 2015

For more information contact:
Preeti Shridhar
, Deputy Public Affairs Administrator 425-430-6569

City Hall Flag to fly at half-staff to Honor Service

RENTON, WA: A public “celebration of life” will be held at the Renton Community Center Saturday, November 7, at 1 pm, in honor of former City of Renton mayor Don Custer who passed away October 29. Mayor Denis Law has authorized the flag in front of City Hall to be flown at half-staff in his honor through the memorial service this weekend.

Mayor Don Custer“Don will be missed by this community,” said Mayor Law. “He has remained active since serving as mayor, devoting a lot of time to the Renton Historical Society and the Friends of Renton High School alumni association. I will miss his wisdom and his great sense of humor.
Donald Ward Custer was born on November 5, 1935 to Donald N. Custer and Dorothy Thompson Custer. His grandfather Bertram H. Custer was the founder of Custer (later Renton) Hardware. Don graduated from Renton High School in 1953 and attended the University of Washington, where he graduated in 1957 with a degree in marketing. He married Loraine T. Rosa in 1963 and they had three children: Rosemarie Custer, Richard Ward Custer, and Timothy Custer.

Don was very active in public service for the City of Renton. He served as a Renton City Councilmember from 1961 to 1964, after which he became Renton’s youngest mayor at age 28. He served one term. Under his watch the City moved forward with a 20-year plan for a civic center, a new City Hall, new library, and the start of Carco Theatre and Renton Community Center. The Custer administration spent $6 million on land acquisition and parks improvement, and upgraded underground infrastructure with storm sewers and utility improvements. During his tenure as mayor, Don also served on the council for the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (now King County Wastewater), representing the City of Renton.

Though he was no longer mayor, Don remained active in Renton public service. He served on the Renton Municipal Arts Commission (1971 to 1976), the Parks Commission (1972 to 1976), and as Administrative Assistant (forerunner to Chief Administrative Officer) to Mayor Charles Delaurenti (1976 to 1979). In 1980 and 1982 he ran for state representative but was not elected, and he served as a staff assistant to the General Assembly in 1981 and 1982. He was assistant manager of the King County Real Property Division and the owner of CENTA Corporation. He was an active volunteer with Friends of Renton High School and the Renton Historical Society, and in retirement he was an instructor in the Continuing Education Department of Highline College.

The photo is from 1978.