George Curtis
{ "" }
Share George's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
George William ("Bill") Curtis III died on Saturday, August 25th at the age of 93. Born in Brussels, Belgium he moved to the United States after WWII, during which time he contributed to the Nazi resistance by fighting in the Belgian Underground. After spending a short year in Upper Marlboro, Maryland he took a job in the oil fields of Wyoming and discovered his true love of the West. Bill started his college education in Belgium and completed it with a PhD in astrogeophysics from the University of Colorado under the GI Bill. His work led him (and his growing family) to the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, the Climax Observatory atop Fremont pass in Colorado and the Sacramento Peak Observatory overlooking the White Sands of New Mexico. It also took him to countless exotic locations around the world as part of scientific teams studying solar eclipses. He retired from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR in the 1980's but continued reading, skiing and playing tennis for many more decades. He met his wife Mary Catherine ("Mag") Magrath (an adventurer and amazing woman, wife and mother from McCook, Nebraska) at the University of Colorado where Mag was pursuing an advanced degree in chemistry. They lived in Paris while Bill was on a Fulbright scholarship, were married in Brussels and returned to Boulder where they started their family. They have four children and 14 grandchildren. The children are Kevin Curtis & Mary McKenna of Silver Spring, MD; Brigitte Curtis of Lubbock, TX; Sean Curtis & Ngozi Okezie of Chappaqua, NY; and Moira (Curtis) & Kevin McCabe of Denver, Colorado. Bill was the third child of Edward Davison Curtis (Newton, MA) and Francoise Guinnotte (Brussels, Belgium). In Europe, he is survived by his two brother's children: Alan Curtis, Patricia (Curtis) Ceulemans, Jimmy Curtis and Marianne (Curtis) Jackson plus Catherine Guinnotte, his cousin Bernard's wife. Bill ("Papy") was a good husband, a caring and demanding father, a loving grandfather and loyal friend. He enjoyed life very much and will be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor, quick wit and rebellious attitude towards authority - a trait which has passed on to the next two generations. His passing represents the end of a generation, as he was the last surviving Curtis of his generation and all of Mag's siblings have also passed. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Bill's name to the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation,, or 3300 E. Bayaud Avenue, Denver, CO., 80209. There will be a celebration of his life this fall to which all friends and family are invited. Details will be available at Crist Mortuary ( ) and will also be in the paper.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Daily Camera on Sep. 5, 2018.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Crist Mortuary
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
11 entries
April 29, 2019
Bill was a wonderful advocate for employees and was responsible for my 25 year career at UCAR. I so admired his wonderful life story. My sincerest condolences to his family.
Carol Smith
October 19, 2018
I worked with Bill at UCAR for many years. He hired me in 1986. I last visited with him on July 11 when I picked him up for lunch at The Cork. He was so sharp. We talked about politics, books, tennis, skiing, travel, kids and grandkids. I'll miss those lunches with him and his terrific sense of humor. We laughed all the time.

My husband and kids knew him and always enjoyed seeing him. My husband often ran into him at the library. We all fondly remember the day we skied hard with the Curtis family and our college friends at Copper Mountain and then gathered for lunch around a big table in the main lodge.

Bill was a wonderful mentor. He gave me opportunities to take on increased responsibility and encouraged me every step of the way. He inspired me to be more courageous. He had a quick temper that was often entertaining, but he was passionate about doing right by others. I am forever grateful for his guidance, unwavering support and friendship over the many years that we knew each other.

To the whole Curtis clan: You are a giving, loving and inclusive family. We miss Bill and Mag very much. And the Austin family is so much richer to have been included in a small piece of your lives.
Meg Austin
October 11, 2018
Bill Curtis was a long time colleague at UCAR/NCAR. He was a splendid man in many ways..... smart, articulate, multi-faceted, compassionate, passionate about things he believed in, a defender of causes, ethical and honest. His passing leaves a hole in the u inverse that will never be filled. It was a pleasure and privilege to have known him and worked with him.
Karyn Sawyer
October 10, 2018
Bill and Mag Curtis August 1991
The world was a more interesting and better place for the life of Bill Curtis. I knew Bill for many years as a friend and a colleague at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). After he stepped down as a scientist at NCAR's High Altitude Observatory, he was Director of Human Resources at NCAR/UCAR for a number of years, and served on the NCAR Directors' Committee. Although part of management, Bill was always standing up for the employees whenever management issues came up. I recall one meeting when some issue set him off, and he launched into a spell-binding articulate soliloquy of passion and indignation, each word perfectly crafted without any notes or preparation, all delivered in his heaviest Belgian accent! I wish I had a recording. It was wonderful! And so was Bill and his wife Mag. We all miss both of them.

Rick Anthes
Former NCAR Director, UCAR President, and Friend of Bill and Mag
Rick Anthes
October 10, 2018
I got to know Bill when I was working in the UCAR community programs. . . he used to come by to visit from time-to-time. I really admired his smarts, but mostly his love of his wife, his family, and of skiing -- something we talked about a lot. I havn't seen Bill in many years, but seeing this brought back fond memories of him -- hoping to live with 1/2 as much love of life and all that it brings as Bill.
Joanne Graham
September 8, 2018
Your father was a special man and will be missed. I always looked forward to seeing him whenever I visited my sister Harriet Crowe Barker. The three of us once went skiing together -- he was over 75 at the time -- and he was just amazing. Loved your Mother, too. Wonderful folks. Sorry for your loss, but I am sure you are comforted by the fact they both lived very good lives and loved their kids no end.
Mimi Barker
September 6, 2018
My uncle Bill was a wonderful man who I got to see as a kid on trips out west. We always had so much fun with him as he was quick to smile and to tell a joke and make us all laugh. He had a terrific love for life and he squeezed the orange of life for every drop, every day. My most prominent memory of him is how all his children and my cousins would listen to him when he spoke. He commanded their attention not with an overbearing presence, but through his gentle kindness and understanding and the attention that he paid each one of them. The respect that his children had for him was so clear. He set an example for all of us on how to live a rich and full life, filled with great friends and food, and always laughter......we will all miss him, and my hearts aches especially for his children, my cousins, who adored him. Bless you Bill Curtis.
Tim Magrath
September 5, 2018
I am so fortunate to have met Bill Curtis 3 years ago, a few days past his 90th birthday. He was a dear friend and is sorely missed. We spent many hours on his back porch with his daily Manhattan in hand. He was a masterful story teller and I was blessed with stories of Africa, WW2 and the Belgian underground (of which i was sworn to secrecy), Wyoming (which stole his heart so many years ago)and his life growing up in Belgium. My daughter Lucy wanted to say that she was also very fond of Bill and loved listening to his stories - and the times we went out to dinner.
Misty Bergstrom
September 5, 2018
September 5, 2018
Many of us enjoyed our meetings when Bill kept us on point and the meeting enjoyable. I feel privileged to have spent time with Bill over the decades. RIP. Mary Nagle Street
mary street
August 30, 2018
My condolences for you.May you find hope and comfort in the words at Jeremiah 31:13 OS
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences