Will Curtis, Vermont Public Radio Commentator
By: Legacy Staff
7 years ago
In his obituary for Will Curtis, who had a daily three-minute commentary on Vermont Public Radio, Boston Globe reporter Bryan Marquard wrote:
Amid evocations of the state’s ever popular maple syrup and fall foliage, he would slip in a lesson on how to swing a scythe. Listening by satellite, everyone from farmers to urban dwellers thousands of miles away would marvel at how he turned the mechanics of mowing by hand into a kind of plainspoken poetry.
Curtis’ “commentaries ranged on subjects from snowshoes to shadbush, lightning bugs to ‘a short history of all history,’” Marquard wrote.
The skilled obit writer quotes Curtis’ wife, Jane, as saying her husband “was helping people to look about them and prize what we have and know that it had better be taken care of.”
He could do that even when venturing down the worn path of describing Vermont’s autumn leaves.
“There’s one old veteran that has become so bright a scarlet it almost hurts to look at,” he said in an early-’80s commentary about the foliage on Sugarbrook Farm, the Curtis spread in Hartland. “Farther up is a majestic fountain of deep yellow. A thicket of sumac beneath is doing its own thing by turning itself into a vermilion bonfire. And not to be overlooked are the subtle mauves of the white ashes. I guess there’s nowhere else in the world where trees and bushes make such a fantastic tapestry across the hills.”
Wow! That description makes me want to plan a road trip through Vermont in the fall.
This post was contributed by Alana Baranick, a freelance obituary writer who lives in Northeast Ohio. She is director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers and chief author of Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers.