Donor Spotlight: Her Thrift Became Sizable Gift to GDA

Even as a young girl, Patricia “Pat” Custer was a dog lover. It was a wonderful surprise that she left her estate of more than $1 million to Guide Dogs of America. Those who knew Custer were aware of her thriftiness, but all were amazed by the large a donation she gifted to GDA.

Custer began her career as a secretary at NBC in Hollywood, Calif. In 1973, she became the bookkeeper for the newly formed Corporate Productions Inc. (CPI) and stayed with the company the rest of her career.

When CPI moved to nearby Toluca Lake in the 1980s, she took on the unofficial duty of tending its backyard garden. After retiring, she could be found in the garden trimming the fruit trees and plants every weekend until her passing. She participated in the production of several fundraising videos for GDA. Custer always found it heartwarming to hear recipients with their new guide dog talk about the transformation they saw in themselves as the pairs became bonded working teams.

Being a quiet and private individual, one couldn’t have known that Custer had quite a history within her own family. She left behind many articles and archival information showing she was a direct descendant of General George Armstrong Custer. Whether she was receiving postcards from Johnny Carson or part of an incredible ancestry, Custer remained resolved in her commitment to our charity.

For information about becoming a Partner in Trust, please contact Rhonda Bissell at
(818) 833-6432.