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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.

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.

Todd Davis March 21, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Delores was awesome. She was always helpful and open to everyone who needed to know something about Clawson's past as well as the current events of the day. She will be sorely missed and I hope that the museum lives on because of her dedication and efforts.
Susan Lambert March 21, 2012 at 04:12 PM
What an inspiration Delores was to so many of us. She opened my interest in history by requesting items for the museum. I wil never forget how gracious she was about decorating the museum for my wedding there.....she located and displayed many family heirlooms and made it feel like I was being married in my own "home"! A lovely lady who will be greatly missed for all she meant to the city of Clawson. Mrs. Claus we love you!!! I know that you are giving the angels Clawson history lessons as I write this. If anyone reads this that can help me locate the books Mrs. Kumler wrote I would love to purchase copies!
kathy phillips March 21, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Rest in Peace Delores. I know you will remain in the hearts of many in this community. We all appreciate your time, effort and loving documentation of the history of our town. You will be missed greatly. Jerry our thoughts and prayers are with you.
joyce wiswell April 12, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I just loved Delores, as so many did. She will live on via the museum!
Eva Joyce Burns May 06, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Just saw you comment about wanting Deloris Kumler's books. They are available at the Clawson Historical Museum 248-588-9169 or they can be ordered from their website. Contact Melodie at the Museum for futher information

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