Tribute to Bernie Custis
RE: Bernie Custis
An incredible loving and caring human being has left this earthy realm to continue his work elsewhere.
Bernie Custis, an educator, coach and role model to literally thousands of young men will be remembered for his hands on approach to the physical, mental and spiritual development of these individuals.
As an impressionable 19 year old football player, I had the good fortune to come under the guidance of this gentle man. Unlike most coaches of the 1960s, coach Custis’ quiet demeanour, soft-spoken voice, insightful eyes and guiding index finger were all that were needed to gain your respect.
Bernie, the Jackie Robinson of football in North America, was showing white kids in southern Ontario what Reverend Martin Luther King’s ministry of the sixties was all about, in his own quiet way.
Over the decades Coach Custis has achieved countless accolades for his passion and expertise in education and coaching. But there is no doubt in my mind that the intrinsic motivation of the riveting respectful eyes of his former students and athletes meant more to him than all the extrinsic hardware.
I have for the past 50 years been an educator/coach and always thank my lucky stars that I met this gentle giant.
Bern, you were my mentor and thank you for introducing me to one of my favourite words, poise and its meaning.
Your physical presence is missed but your aura will always be with us. Rest in peace. Rick Rivers (#16 of the Burlington Braves, 1965-67)