AAIP Founding Member Passes Away

December 30, 2014
Posted by AAIP News on 12/30/2014

It is with great sadness, this Holiday season, that we announce the passing of Dr. Linwood “Little Bear” Custalow, a founding member of the Association of American Indian Physicians. AAIP’s deepest gratitude goes out to Dr. Custalow for being an original founder of this great organization and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family for their loss. 


WEST POINT – Dr. Linwood “Little Bear”‘ Custalow, 77, passed away Friday, December 19th, 2014. He was born on April 23, 1937 on the Mattaponi Indian Reservation in King William County, Virginia to Chief Webster “Little Eagle” Custalow and Mary Lee “White Dove” Custalow. Lin married Barbara Asbury on November 25, 1960, while in medical school. He had 5 children, a son and 4 daughters, Darryl, Beth, Amy, Lisa, and Julie. He was the first American Indian to graduate from a medical college in Virginia. He graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in 1964. He moved to Newport News, Virginia in 1969 where he practiced in his specialty of Ear, Nose Throat, Facial Plastic Surgery, and Allergy for 38 years. He was a founding and active member of the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP). Lin was a diplomat of The American Board of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, The National Board of Medical Examiners, and The Board of Environmental Medicine. He belonged to the local, state and national medical societies as well as those of his specialties. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the International College of Surgeons, and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. Lin assisted in the health care of the Mattaponi Tribe as well as numerous other reservations. Over the years, he served on the boards of Youth for Christ, Youth Challenge, Bacone College in Oklahoma, Bluefield College and his churches. He was the Historian for the Mattaponi Tribe, and the author of “The True Story of Pocahontas, the Other Side of History.” Lin was awarded as an Outstanding Young Man of America in 1966 and an Outstanding Personality of the South in 1968. He was honored with the Unknown Indian Award in 1990 for his service to the American Indian communities. Lin was preceded in death by his parents, Chief Webster “Little Eagle” Custalow and Mary Lee “White Feather” Custalow, and his son, Darryl Webster Custalow. Lin is survived by his wife, Barbara Custalow; his 4 daughters, Dr. Beth Custalow, Amy Custalow Wendling, Lisa Custalow Boom, and Julie Custalow Sanchez; his 3 sons-in-law Steve Boom, Mike Wendling, and Angelo Sanchez; and his 6 grandchildren, Cameron Boom, Amelie Boom, Sophie Wendling, Matthew Wendling, Sebastian Boom, and soon to be born, Ethan Sanchez. He is also survived by his 5 sisters and 3 brothers, Eleanor Cannada, Edith Khuns, Dolores Salmon, Shirley McGowan, Carl Custalow, Ryland Custalow, Leon Custalow, and Debbie Porreco. A service and interment on the Mattaponi Indian Reservation will be held at 11 am on Friday, December 26, 2014. Reception will follow at the Community Center on the Reservation. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Mattaponi Eagle Trust, which provides education and assists with land acquisition for the Mattaponi People and Tribe. Please make checks out to Mattaponi Eagle Trust For Land Acquisition and Education and send to Mattaponi Eagle Trust, c/o Barbara Custalow, P.O. Box 5845, Williamsburg, VA 23188. Tributes may be posted at