Curtiss died of renal failure on January 23, 2016 following complications of open-heart surgery and a long convalescence. His memorial service was held on March 12th in Memorial Chapel at the University of Redlands. His many friends, and many from the community at large, were in attendance to give a fond and loving Farewell to Redlands' own Music Man.
Curtiss was born and raised in San Bernardino, California and had deep family ties to the San Bernardino and adjacent Colton areas. His grandfather founded Allen and Son Iron Works in the late 19th century which provided valuable and essential services to the Inland Empire area well into the 20th century. He attended San Bernardino Valley College and Stanford University, and graduated from Cal Western University with a BA degree in Industrial Management. Curtiss was a retired Social Worker and worked for many years in Adult Protective Services with the San Bernardino County office of Social Services.
Curtiss had a long association with music in the local area, both as an instrumentalist (French Horn and piano) and as a vocalist, having performed in high school and college wind ensembles and choirs, and with local college wind ensembles, community choirs and community musical theater. His conducting experience began in the late 1970's when he took the position of choir director at Bethany Reformed Church in Redlands and later, director of their chamber orchestra. In 1981 he founded The Redlands Fourth of July Band (a volunteer community band) to provide patriotic music for the local 4th of July celebrations and festivities. This band has continued to perform each year ever since on the 4th and for numerous other local festivities and observances.
Curtiss was a recognised leader in the musical life of Redlands and the local area. He was named Redlands 'Man of the Year' in 1999, and has led the Community Sing for the Redlands Community Music Association, Summer Music Festival at the Redlands Bowl since. Curtiss had three children-- Curtiss jr., Stephen and Amy, and four grandchildren. Curtiss jr. plays tuba and is a middle school teacher and band director. Stephen played tuba and is deceased, and Amy is an oboist and stay-at-home mom.
Curt jr, Phillis, Curt Sr, Stephen and Amy (1974)