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Deloris Kumler, 73, Remembered as Community History Guru

Kumler led the Clawson Historical Museum for 34 years and authored two history books.

Deloris Kumler, 73, Remembered as Community History Guru Deloris Kumler, 73, Remembered as Community History Guru

had a passion for history. She studied it, wrote it and helped others relive it. In fact, Kumler was the first curator of the Clawson Historical Museum, appointed in 1973.

Deloris Kumler died peacefully at her home in Clawson on March 12 after battling sickness for 29 months.

"She didn’t want to die, but she couldn’t keep on living the way she did," said her husband Jerry, adding that Kumler had been in and out of the hospital during the past couple years.

The Kumlers moved to Clawson after getting married in 1967. Jerry Kumler said he was working as a carpenter at the time and the couple was looking to live in a central location.

Kumler spent the the first several years of her marriage taking care of their daughter doing volunteer work and pursuing her love for history.

Lover of history

Kumler's daughter, Maria Mason, said growing up, she remembers most of their family vacations were to historical places such as Washington, DC, and Gettysburg. She said Kumler also enjoyed collecting antiques. 

In the early 1970s, Kumler helped form the Clawson Historical Society and become the group's first president. In 1973, she was appointed the first curator of the Clawson Historical Museum.

This position allowed Kumler to become very familiar with the history of Clawson and with her knowledge she wrote two books, Images of America: Clawson and Clawson The Way It Was.

Jerry Kumler said he helped his wife collect photographs for the books.

"She enjoyed it," he said. "That’s why she did it."

Kumler's work didn't stop at the museum. During her life she was a member of the Clawson Historical Commission, Oakland County Historical Commission and the GFWC Clawson Juniors.

Kumler was also a columnist for the Clawson Patch in late 2010 and early 2011. She wrote columns about the history of Clawson schools, , the post office and other topics.

Friends and family reflect

Friends and family members say Kumler will be remembered as selfless, community-minded and family oriented.

"She was always very positive about everything," Mason said. "She was just always very giving."

Melodie Nichols took over as curator of the Clawson Historical Museum in 2007 when Kumler retired. Nichols said Kumler mentored her and helped her transition into the job.

"It just seemed like she knew everything," Nichols said. "I couldn’t have imagined a better person for a mentor."

Nichols said Kumler continued to help her with projects even after she retired.

In addition to her husband and daughter, Kumler is survived by son-in-law Rob Mason and granddaughters, Natalie and Adrienne.

There will be a "Celebration of Life" for Kumler from noon-4 p.m. Saturday at with a memorial service following at 4 p.m. Memorials can be made to the Clawson Historical Society P.O. Box 222, Clawson, MI 48017.

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