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, http://cytf.net, 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 (cristmortuary.com ) and will also be in the paper.
Published in The Daily Camera on Sep. 5, 2018.