Philip Williams Curtis

Philip Williams Curtis

Philip Williams Curtis

Philip Williams Curtis, age 88, died at home in Ashland, Ore., April 16, 2010. He was born in Wheaton, Conn., in 1922, to Ethel Curtis.

His three siblings preceded him in death, as did his wife of 50 years, Norma Curtis, who died May 11, 2008. He is survived by his stepdaughter, Joan Byard, and stepson, Robert Byard, both in California; and sister-in-law, Marilyn Russell, of Arizona.

His life passage was of benefit to others. Primarily self-educated and with an adventuresome and courageous spirit, he and a younger diabetic brother set out to cross the continent as teenagers. They hitch-hiked, took odd jobs along the way, visited libraries offering knowledge and giving Phil educational tools needed for survival and to become a successful self-made man.

Phil remained a life-long devoted supporter of Public Libaries and their programs.

Arriving in Santa Monica, Calif., Phil supported himself, his brother, and sent money back home by parking cars, washing dishes, and serving as a short order cook in beach cafes, a pharmacy assistant, riveter, bath salts maker, welder, etc. until he entered the corporate world.

Though he never mastered swimming, he joined the Merchant Marines during World War II. He saw plenty of hostile action in the Pacific theater on a Liberty boat transporting munitions to the armed forces. The Orient launched his lifelong hobby of collecting antiques and objects of art. After the war he worked at Lockheed Aircraft while going to night school to finish his education.

Upon earning his bachelor and master's degrees, he worked in personnel for the Los Angeles Board of Education. He served as personnel labor trouble shooter at TRW Aeronautics, as well as Wage, Salary, Benefits Control and Group Consultant, and became a Consultant to Industry.

Upon retiring to Ashland, Ore., with his wife, he continued working as a consultant as they built their retirement home. He could fix just about anything. He was especially gifted in wood working, making tables and chairs for their home. He and Norma attended SOU senior citizen classes, played bridge, supported the Talent Friends of the Library, and they endowed SOU with a scholarship for single women working toward degrees in education.

A private memorial is planned.

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