SIOUX FALLS Curtis Benjamin Colter, 33, Sioux Falls, died on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at his home of heart disease……as the Lord took him to be by His side.

Visitation is 7 - 9 p.m. Garden City Funeral Home, 1705 W. Broadway, Missoula, Sunday, Nov. 4. Funeral service is 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5 Christian Life Center, 3801 South Russell Street, Missoula, burial and a reception to follow.

He was born on Oct. 9, 1979, in Sydniy to Bill and Cyndy Colter. Curt attended 4th-12th grade in Custer, Big Sandy and eventually Hysham Montana. Curt excelled athletically and academically leading him to the University of Montana where he was a part of the 2001 Grizzly National Championship football team. Curt was an All-Conference defensive tackle who was inducted this September into the Grizzly Hall of Fame with teammates. He graduated in 2003 with a degree in Elementary Education. While in college, he met his future wife Mara. Curt and Mara moved to Nogales, Arizona to pursue jobs in teaching/coaching. They were married in 2005 and welcomed their daughter Payton one year later. After five years in Arizona, Curt and his family moved to Sioux Falls, where he became owner with his brother DJ( who loved every minute with him in this opportunity) as operators of the Oreck Vacuum Store. While under Curt's direction, his store was one of the top in the nation, which made his brother very proud. Curt was a part of Business Networking International and volunteered weekly at his daughter's school. In recent years, Curt had shared with friends and employees how his relationship with God had changed his perspective on life.

Since the day he was born, Curt had the ability to make all who were around him laugh with his sense of humor and his own infectious laugh. Curt's nickname as a young boy was "Tuffy." Ironically, he loved giving nicknames to everyone later in his life. Curt always wanted those around him to feel comfortable and happy, as he was a true "gentle giant." Curt formed special bonds with people throughout his whole life whether it was the during his high school years of working on the farm or playing legion baseball, to college times where he was loved by his teammates who nicknamed him "Beefcake," to teaching/coaching middle school kids in Arizona, and even as a business owner where even the postman loved him, let alone his thousands of customers. Professionally, he was a combination of a great teacher, coach, and salesman, which is what made him so successful. Personally, his caring personality made you just want to spend more time with him.

Curt really enjoyed fishing, hunting, attending sporting events with friends and family, playing fantasy baseball and football leagues, playing golf, following the Braves, 49ers, Vikings, Griz, and special moments like teaching his daughter Payton how to ride her bike. They shared a special bond which was evident to everyone they came in contact with. Payton loved spending time with her daddy at the store helping clean and demonstrate vacuums for customers. Curt and Payton enjoyed listening to Pearl Jam and playing their guitars. Curt's love for his wife Mara was evident to all. Friends and family loved watching how Curt and Mara just "clicked."

Your blue eyes and great smile will be missed by all who met you Curt. You have no idea how much joy you gave your Mom, Dad and brother in 33 years on earth. We know you are making everyone in heaven laugh with your special sense of humor!

Survivors include: Curt's wife Mara and six year old daughter Payton; his parents Bill and Cyndy of Missoula; his brother DJ and wife Jennifer and their 3 daughters (Kennedy, Harper and McKenna) of Fargo, ND. He is also survived by many loving in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins whom he treasured. He is preceded in death by his grandparents who adored him.

Memorials can be sent to: Curt Colter Memorial Fund c/o DJ Colter 415 38th St. S, Fargo, ND 58103 Garden City Funeral Home is assisting family with arrangements.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Nov. 4, 2012