Gary P. Custer
Gary P. Custer was the founder, publisher and editor of East Village Magazine for 39 years from 1976 to his death in January, 2015. Living much of his life in Flint, Gary attended old Walker Elementary, Whittier Middle School and graduated from Flint Central High School in 1960. A photojournalism graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he served in the U.S. Navy from February,1968 to May. 1971. He was stationed off Vietnam and in Japan.
East Village Magazine was Gary’s life passion. For decades, from his small unmarked office on Second Street in Flint, he produced a quality neighborhood publication with an all volunteer staff. He mentored and taught journalism practices to dozens, if not hundreds, of young reporters over the years.
His photojournalism degree was immensely important and formative to him. His aesthetic was elegant and artistic, and he highly valued (and ceaselessly critiqued) the black and white photographs provided from the beginning by his brother, Edwin D. Custer.
He also believed in the power of good writing and great neighborhood stories. Although his writers were never paid, he had a way of extracting the best from them and insisted on superior quality and high ethical standards.
He asked little and gave much to our community. His ashes were placed at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, but we believe that his heart and spirit are still in that office on Second Street and in the hearts of the people of Flint to whom he devoted his singular and inimitable work.
Jan Worth-Nelson was editor of East Village Magazine from 2015 to the end of 2020, when she stepped down and handed the reins to Managing Editor Tom Travis. She continues as consulting editor with husband Ted Nelson.
Jan Worth-Nelson started writing the back-page “Village Life” column 12 years ago after being harassed for years by EVM founder and publisher Gary Custer. When he died in January, 2015, she agreed to take on the “jan-of-all-trades” role of EVM editor. She is coming full circle. A native Ohioan with a journalism degree from Kent State University, she worked as a newspaper reporter in Southern California for five years before joining the U.S. Peace Corps. On returning from that assignment in the Kingdom of Tonga, she obtained a master’s of social work from the University of Michigan and came to Flint for a job as a social worker. During her seven years in that position, she yielded to a craving to return to her writing roots, and got a master of fine arts in creative writing from Warren Wilson College. She moved to the University of Michigan – Flint, where she taught writing for 26 years before retiring in 2013. She has lived in Flint since 1981. Her stories, essays, and poems have appeared in many magazines – most recently in The MacGuffin, Midwestern Gothic, Belt Magazine, Hypertext, and Happy Anyway: A Flint Anthology. Her 2006 novel, Night Blind, was a fictionalized account of her Peace Corps years. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Ted tends to EVM‘s infrastructure and consults on many editorial issues. He also does the magazine’s layout and cheers up the editor. Ted is a graduate of Amherst College and a former Peace Corps volunteer (Turkey) and Washington staff member. He was also the founder and CEO of the Education for Involvement Corporation, a nonprofit District of Columbia think tank and training organization. In addition to his EVM work, Ted is the CEO of Hollywood Awards. He is featured in a 2018 documentary from Northern Light Productions titled “JFK: The Last Speech” about his experience meeting JFK at Amherst in 1963 and the effects of that experience on his life. Ted’s work with East Village Magazine is part of his present-day life captured in the film. Also, he is co-producer, with wife Jan Worth-Nelson, of a 2020 “get 0ut the vote” video for East Village Magazine called Faces of Flint: A Message from the Anvil of Democracy.
Edwin D. Custer
Photographer, Distribution Manager, vice-president of the board
As the artist and photographer behind our famously gorgeous cover photos, as former president of the board of the Village Information Center, and as brother of EVM founder Gary Custer, Ed plays a crucial role in keeping the legacy of EVM alive. A graduate of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor with BFA, MA and MLA, degrees, he was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi scholastic honorary. He is a Vietnam veteran awarded the Air Medal and the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster. A six-decade long resident of Flint, he is a retired city planning supervisor. He is a gifted ceramist, photographer, landscape painter and sculptor.
Political columnist, president of the board
Paul Rozycki came to teaching somewhat accidentally. He planned a career as a journalist, having worked for a daily newspaper in Illinois. After earning degrees at Northern Illinois University, and Indiana University, he taught political science at Ball State University for two years before coming to Mott Community College in 1969, and retired in 2011.
He has been the “Political Pundit” for area TV stations, is a regular guest on the Tom Sumner radio program, and often moderates candidate panels in the community.
He is a member of the EVM board and is currently serving as board president.
He has also written several books– “Politics and Government in Michigan” (with Jim Hanley) and “A Clearer Image: The 75 year history of Mott Community College”. He has written a chapter on the Flint water crisis for a text on Michigan government.
Among his outside interests are photography and collecting political memorabilia. In April, 2018, Paul received the Liberty Bell Award from the Genesee County Bar Association, based in large measure on his writing for EVM.
Harold C. Ford
EVM Writer Harold C. Ford wrote for the Flint Voice and the Michigan Voice many years ago. He is retired from 43 years as an educator in the Beecher Community Schools, where he was the co-founder and first executive director of the Beecher Scholarship Incentive Program funded by the Ruth Mott Foundation. His return to investigative journalism is part of his stated “bucket list.”
He has become the much-read Education Beat writer for EVM, drawing on his decades as an educator; also, he has contributed many book reviews to the magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This Month in the Village” editor
Patsy Isenberg has worked in publishing most of her career, but as a graphic designer. Always torn between art and writing, she has a degree in English from U of M-Flint and a minor in art. Long after raising her son and daughter in Lapeer, she moved to Flint where she now lives with her two cats, Allie and Scout. She started a novel with an autobiographical theme she hopes to finish soon. Meanwhile. she writes long carefully-crafted emails, posts, letters, short stories, rants and an occasional poem. So she’s extremely happy to have joined the staff of East Village Magazine.
Madeleine Graham grew up from age two to twelve at St. Vincent Sarah Fisher Home for Children (now closed) in Farmington Hills, Michigan. She writes, “Thankfully despite some hard times, I was raised by the Daughters of Charity, a Catholic Order of Nuns. The nuns reunited me with my folks when I was considered old enough to take care of myself. ”
She further comments, “Writing is the sustenance to my existence. I fell into a love of writing when I was quite young. I love writing and am passionate about poetry. I have worked as a reporter/writer since 1988. I also served as a substitute teacher and teacher assistant. My previous writing experience is primarily in newspapers.”
She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where she earned a B.S. in English, language and literature; and Oakland Community College where she earned an Associate’s in Business Administration . She says, “I was blessed with a son and a daughter who are adults. Life has been turbulent, but thankfully I have been given the fortitude to press on.” Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, she asserts, “Patience and fortitude conquer all things.”
Teddy Robertson was raised in Mill Valley, California, back when Marin County was a collection of small towns scattered over hillsides just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. She lived in Poland over four years and returned to complete a doctorate at Indiana University. Arriving in Flint in 1984, her early experience was shaped by the promise and collapse of Buick City. She has resided in Flint’s neighborhoods—the north end, Glendale Hills, Mott Park. She retired from UM-Flint as Associate Professor in History. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Born in Flint, Coner Segren holds an Associates in Liberal Arts from Mott Community College and is attending UM-Flint.
Robert R. Thomas
Bob Thomas was made in Flint during WWII. He disappeared in San Francisco thirty-five years ago, only to reappear a decade ago as a retired resident of Central Park village where he found true love, a new home and East Village Magazine.
Dean has been involved with technology since 1980. He assisted Gary Custer with the first iterations of the East Village Magazine’s web presence in the late 90’s. Today, Dean helps publish The East Village Magazine’s online edition. Dean was a resident of Flint for more than 45 years, recently moving to Owosso, MI
Grayce Scholt 1925-2018
Our Late Poet
A retired English professor from Mott Community College, former art reviewer for the Flint Journal and longtime resident of the College Cultural neighborhood, poet and memoirist, we are sorry to say Grayce Scholt died March, 2018. This was what she wrote when she last offered a bio.
“I’ve been writing poems for as long as I can remember–and at age 90 that is a very long time. So it goes without saying, many of my poems are nostalgic, recalling pertinent moments in my life. But my love of all natural things–animals, especially–account for much of my work, which often verges on the spiritual. My life-long interest in creating art has produced ceramics, in particular, but other media as well. I am grateful for whatever creative gifts I might have, and to East Village Magazine for the opportunity to share them with others.” We miss her greatly.