While Preparing for a funeral this Saturday, I was reading over some of the service notes from other funerals I have done and found this. I wrote it about an amazing man who passed away last year at the age of 87:
I had only known Curtis for about two years, so I don’t know nearly as much about him as most of his fiends do. There are a number of things however that stick out in my mind. First off, I misjudged him at first meeting. You see, Curtis wore a suit and tie every Sunday to church. It was what Fran picked out for him, but it was also his choice. Personally, I am not a suit and tie guy, so I automatically thought that he would not like what I wore to church. He shocked me though when he said in one of our conversations the he wears what he wants to wear to church, and other people can wear what they want to wear, it didn’t matter to him. And while I am sure there were times when he would have preferred me to wear something different, he never made a big deal of it to me. I will have to say though that my first conversation with him was not a surprise. We were both getting cake at the same time on my ordination Sunday and he said to me, “has anyone told you you preach to long yet?” “No.” I said. “Well they aught to” he finished. That became our running joke most times we talked. Even when he wasn’t able to come to church, he would remark how he heard how long a particular sermon was.
He was a man with a sense of humor. He had a saying for just about anything, and a story to go with it too. My personal favorite saying of his I heard the first time I went to visit with them at their house. I was asking about their courtship and he said, “I chased her until she caught me”. He was a tough man for the most part, informing me one time that he realized that sometimes men like to hug each other, but he was not into that and to just shake his hand. He was a man’s man. Building three of the houses they lived in and just about any piece of furniture Fran could find a picture of. He had to be tough to spend 37 years as a state trooper. I did manage to find a hole in his armor one day when visiting him in west port after his pelvic fracture. His calm composure broke and tears came to his eyes the moment I mentioned one name, “How is Fran?” I said. I will forever remember the loving look on his face as more than one tear rolled down his cheek. The man was speechless. He was smitten. Almost 66 years of marriage. He was still brought to tears by the thought of his bride. The tough State trooper exterior that was still somewhat evident in his then 86 year old fame was totally washed away at the thought of the woman he had met just after getting out of the Navy. Introduced by his brother at Kresge’s dime store where she worked in Danville. Married in the preacher’s living room after dating two years, two months and two days. The woman he gave an engagement ring to without ever asking her to marry him. The woman who had prayed for the Lord to send her a man who would be kind and gentle, who would love her and care for her. Who said that he was the answer to that prayer. The woman who had prayed for him every day as he went out to his job at the state police. The woman who’s paintings he prized above his own work. He was a man in love till the last. That is something a want to keep with me all my life. That is the Curtis I knew, and will always remember.