In Memoriam

Wally Curtiss

Walter Dallas Curtiss

Wally CurtissIt is with deep regret and sadness that we announce the passing of our classmate Wally Curtiss. Walter "Wally" D. Curtiss, died at home, Tuesday, March 4, 2008 from cancer. Services were held at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship, 2225 19th Street, Sacramento, CA. There will be a gravesite service at the Academy Cemetary on October 2, 2008 at 1000. Walter Dallas Curtiss was born in Findlay, Ohio on October 21, 1945. He was the third of four children of an Air Force family, and his parents and sister siblings knew him at home as “WD.” As a member of a military family, WD traveled with his family throughout the US and lived in Japan as a child. The family moved to Beale Air Force in the summer of 1959 and he attended Gray Avenue and Yuba City High Schools. Known as Walt by his classmates at Yuba City High School, he lettered in football and wrestling and was elected class president and Student Body President. He was also an Eagle Scout and a member of the Beale Air Force Base Junior Rifle Team. In 1963, at the end of his junior year, he was appointed to the US Air Force Academy, but declined in order to graduate with his high school class. He entered USAFA from Yuba City, California in 1964 while his father was assigned to Beale AFB. Shortly after arriving at the zoo, "WD" became Wally, and for all of us, that is the name that stuck during our time together on campus. While he was at the Academy, Wally was an Astro major and was in 14th Squadron for two years, 12th Squadron for one year, and graduated DG from 27th Squadron, where he served as the Cadet Squadron Commander. Upon graduation, he linked up with Dick Covey, Craig Baer, and Dale Oderman as roommates at Purdue for a Masters in Aero and Astro. Seeking fun and adventure when they weren't cracking the books, Wally and his roommates chipped in on a small ski boat that they dragged up to mountain lakes on weekends for sport and relaxation. After completing an accelerated Masters program, Wally went to Williams AFB for pilot training and then into OV-10s for a combat tour in Southeast Asia, where he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and twelve Air Medals for his heroism. Following his stint in Vietnam, he served for a couple of years at Reese AFB as an instructor pilot and then separated from the Air Force in 1975. Remaining in Lubbock, Texas, he earned a Masters in Business Administration Texas Tech in 1977, and then went to work for Bell Labs. After several years with Bell, he established his own consulting business as a career project management professional. In addition to precious time spent with his family and church, Wally continued to fly as a private pilot and he enjoyed skiing, hiking, camping, and hunting. In mid-2007, he was diagnosed with sarcoma and he underwent surgery in February 2008. With the cancer in an advanced state, he was unable to recover and died in his home on March 4, 2008. Walter was a devout Christian, drawing on his faith throughout his illness. His ashes will be buried at the US Air Force Academy, Colorado. Walter was preceded in death by his father Colonel (Ret.) Philip H. Curtiss and mother Eleanor Moorhead Curtiss. His is survived by his wife Emma Jane Curtiss; his sisters Priscilla Curtiss Dwyer (Jim) of San Francisco, Martha Curtiss Bunce (Craig Hall) of Marysville, and Jane Curtiss Penny (Robert) of Phoenix; his children China Curtiss Kent (Seth) and Verity Curtiss of Denver, Joshua and Ian Curtiss of Phoenix; his step children Emily Smiley (Jeff) of San Bruno CA, Eric, Kelly and Lee Bailey of Greensboro NC, and Andrea Bailey of Campbell CA; grandchildren Fender Kent, Anna and Cayden Curtiss, Montgomery Radonovich and Savannah Smiley. Memorial donations in memory of Walter may be sent to: Jubilee Christian Ministries, 143 Blue Bell Road, Greensboro, NC, 27406 or to Families at the Dump (F.A.D.), c/o BLC Enterprises, 23792 Rockfield, Suite #250, Lake Forest, CA 92630. Walter was an active and respected member of The Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Sacramento, a member of the Davis Flying Club and devoted husband and father. WD, Walt, Wally, Walter: you are loved and remembered by so many. We will miss your strong and quiet presence, your willing help to us all, your smile, your energy, your joyous singing, your love of your family -- and your cigars!
(Martha Curtiss Bunce, sister, Tim Davidson, Dick Covey, Craig Baer, and Skip Penny, '70)

USAFA Cemetery

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