John Joseph Curtis, (aka Gus, Juan, Mr. Funny), died on September 13, 2013.|
Gus was born in Cohoes, New York in 1922. He grew up in Ithaca, New York, with his parents, William and Anna, and his three sisters, Jeanne, Ann, and Mary. He liked to tell stories of growing up in Ithaca; how the family was so poor that they never ate meat (a statement denied by his sister, Ann) how the winters were so cold that the snow and sleet would find its way to the skin of your neck no matter how you wore your coat and scarf, how he had to transfer schools as a boy because he wasn't allowed to wear "long pants" in his previous school, but mostly, how he waited years for his chance to ring the bell for school, and how his joyful ringing was cut short by a mean-spirited nun.
He left the snow and ice of Ithaca for the heat of the Pacific theater in WWII, to serve as a weather observer in the Army Air Corps. He actually did "spend Christmas on Christmas Island". After the war, he took advantage of the GI bill to go to college in Ithaca.
Some random events led to his transfer to Mount Saint Mary's, and a random personal association led to his hire at Ft. Detrick, where he went on to run the test sphere (aka: The Eight Ball). While working there, he met Hood student Kathie Stott, and they decided to get married and have a bunch of kids named Dianne, Karen, Bill, Dave, and Kayte. In the early 70's, Gus left his job at Ft. Detrick and began working "down the road" for the Food and Drug Administration.
He and Kathie loved to travel; going to England, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, and Russia. They were active members of the social "Saturday Night Club", and frequent hosts of dinner and cocktail parties.
Gus enjoyed playing golf, going to the racetrack, watching the Redskins, doing crossword puzzles, and eating peanut butter. He was always ready with a drink, ("What can I get you? How about a nice martini?") a story, a joke, or even a magic trick. (King of Hearts, come down and dance!) He was quick to laugh, and could make you laugh just as quickly. He was a very intelligent man who knew the answers to many questions, and if he didn't know the answer, he would just make something up.
He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him, but particularly by his children and their families: Dianne, Bill, Billy, Jack, Joe, & Andy; Karen, Erik, & Kelsey; Bill, Corinne, Madeline, & Danielle; Dave & Kathy; and Kayte & Joe.
The family will be receiving friends at Keeney and Basford funeral home Sunday, September 29th from 2 to 4 p.m. You are invited to come share your favorite stories and memories. A private interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Frederick County, PO Box 1799, Frederick, Maryland 21702.
Finally, the family asks that you think of Gus, have a martini (or a peanut butter sandwich), tell someone a joke, remember all the joy he brought to the world, and smile.
Published Online in The Frederick News-Post on Sept. 24, 2013