William Curtis

William "Bill" Curtis

January 14, 1949 - September 22, 2020
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SOUTH THOMASTON – William ‘Bill’ Curtis, 71, passed away unexpectedly at his home, Tuesday, September 22, 2020. Bill was born on January 14, 1949 in Rockland.

Bill was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Alice Curtis; his son Marcus Curtis; and grandson, Matthew Curtis. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Laura Curtis of South Thomaston; his daughters, Cathy Curtis of South Thomaston, Karen Curtis and her husband Lee Bisson of Pittsfield; his son Christopher Curtis and his wife Jenn Curtis of Waterville; his grandchildren, Cassandra Ellen Curtis and significant other Trenton Stewart of Rockland, Thomas Curtis of South Thomaston, Sam Curtis of Rockland, Owen Curtis of Rockland, Joseph Curtis of Pittsfield, Benji Curtis of Waterville; his sister, Linda Curtis Brawn; and his nephews Chuck and Mike Brawn, Andrew Parker and Seth Batty.

Bill received his undergraduate degree at the University of Maine at Orono in 1972. He then became a teacher at Camden Rockport High School where he taught Latin until 2011. In March of 2001, Bill received the Matthew I. Wiencke Teaching Award from The American Classical Association of New England. In 2005, he received the Sift Moore Teaching Award from Amherst College. He ran the Latin Club at CRHS and they often placed in the top three teams at Certamen Festivals around the state. He also took eight groups of Latin students on tours of Italy. He was thrilled to be able to take Cassie with him on his final trip. He also taught an adult education Latin class.
Bill coached freshman basketball at Camden Rockport, softball and baseball at Camden Rockport High School, Mary E Taylor School, Oceanside High School, Georges Valley Babe Ruth and Rockland Little League. He was also a referee and umpire locally and kept the clock at CRHS/CHS for 47 years.

He was known for his love of watching his children and grandchildren’s extracurricular activities. He particularly enjoyed watching Thomas and Joey place baseball and Cassie play softball. He was always seen tracking statistics for Joey in score books that he kept from the sidelines.

Bill was also an avid lobsterman from the time he was six. He recently sold his boat and retired from the industry. He spent his winters and evenings reading and writing various games. He had Latin game books published through American Classical League and Teachers Pay Teachers.

Bill’s family was everything to him and they often gathered for meals and games he created such as Blockbuster, Jeopardy and Cryptoquip. Family friends would often join in on these and enjoy the competitive spirit that runs through all the Curtis family.

Bill also had two dogs that he loved unconditionally. He adopted Sam, an 8 year old lab who lived for 4 years. Two years ago he adopted Belle, who became his sidekick. Unless he was on the boat or at a ballgame, he was rarely seen without her.

At Bill’s request, no services will be held. In the spring the family will be hosting a Memorial Softball tournament to raise money for the William Curtis Athletic Scholarship Fund. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the William Curtis Athletic Scholarship Fund, Machias Savings Bank, 3 Glen Street, Rockland, ME 04841. These scholarships will be awarded to one athlete from Oceanside High School and one athlete from Camden Hills Regional High School with financial need and the desire to go on to trade school and/or college.

Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland
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Private Condolence

James Hayden

Posted at 09:17pm
Bill Curtis was one of my top two or three favorite teachers, ever. Not that it's a contest -- but if it were, he would have demonstrated the spirit of friendly competition that makes it fun. He was always improving his curriculum, and I admire his creativity and desire for innovation. He was a professional, and I think of him whenever I wear a tie to work. I really appreciate being able to take four years of Latin from him, and it was kind of like playing a sport in another way: other courses and subjects came and went with the semesters, but I could depend on taking Latin every year and improve at it. Bill had a Herculean capacity for work, between teaching, coaching, lobstering, and family life. (I think he took power naps during lunch.) He was modest and not outspoken; I understand that other teachers pressed him to publish his books of games, which became popular, and I was proud of him when he did. Through his teaching, he gave generations of students lessons and memories that we will keep our whole lives.

Jan Goodwin Warren

Posted at 10:58am
I was so sorry to hear of Bill's passing. I was in his very first Latin class at Camden-Rockport High School. I remember he was so nervous standing up in front of us that we all took it easy on him and were on our best behavior! His Friday Latin Jeopardy classes were amongst my favorite classes. He made Latin fun and interesting, which is no small feat!

Lisa Foley-Pellicani

Posted at 11:42am
I was so sorry to find out the sad news today. I took four years of Latin with Mr. Curtis at CRHS in the ‘80s and loved it. He made it fun, and cheered us through the difficult, boring parts. I loved his Latin Jeopardy games and frequently ran the mythology category. He refereed many of my basketball games and sometimes spoke to me in Latin when handing me the ball. I was able to contact him before he retired from teaching and sent a photo of my small son dressed as Zeus for Halloween (and apologized for him not being Jupiter!) I’m sorry I wasn’t able to let him know my son is now taking high school Latin.

He had a big impact on me as a teenager, and I’m so sad. Wishing comfort to all who will miss him.

James O'Connor

Posted at 05:45pm
Mr. Curtis was my Latin teacher in high school (2009-2011) and, in many ways, he shaped my beliefs and values as to what makes for a "good" teacher. Truly a thoughtful, unflappable, understanding and eminently intelligent man, even (or perhaps especially) in the final two years of his teaching career. He was an inspiration for me to go into teaching, and one of my formative influences in learning to take pride in the lifelong pursuit of knowledge for knowledge's sake. I model my current teaching career off of some of his central tenets of respect, high expectations, consistent interest in and support of students, and wry whit that he modeled for me during my years in his classes. One of my greatest regrets from high school was not going on the Italy trip. The Latin awards that I won still hang on my wall and I still wear my CHRHS Latin Club shirt proudly. I send his family all of my condolences, and to all of the students, athletes, and fellow teachers who were graced to know him.

Annie Fagan

Posted at 03:56pm
Mr. Curtis is a teacher and friend I will remember forever. My brother, sister and I all took Latin with Mr. Curtis and his devious escapades, catchphrases, and ways of making us laugh were a topic of conversation at my family's dinner table many times. My freshman year I was one of the youngest students to join the Latin Club trip to Italy, and the adventures we had there made a huge impression on me. I ended up studying Italian in college and returning to Rome for a semester abroad. I still have a love of languages for this day and it all tracks back to the energy and excitement he brought to Latin class. Throughout high school I made many friends and lasting memories in that class and at Latin conventions all over the state. I learned quickly at conventions that students from other schools respected us and how well we did in Certamen and on exams. We were all nerds surrounded by other nerds and our leader was the greatest and most wonderful nerd of them all. We all knew it was Mr. Curtis who prepared us so well and it was a joy to see the pride on his face when our Club would win awards. He wanted every student to succeed and must have spent years of his life grading optional extra credit worksheets submitted by eager beavers - or students trying to get their grades a few points higher before report cards came due. He was creative and innovative and somehow he made a dead language come alive every day in the classroom. He also loved celebrating at a formal awards night not just his star students, but also the "ovum bonum" - good eggs. He wanted us to love Latin but he wanted us also to be good citizens and good people. As a person, he was so warm, funny, and authentic. I will remember him standing at the front of the classroom, raising an eyebrow with that wry smile and his hand outstretched to tell a story with a sparkle in his eye. He wore his heart on his sleeve, in Latin and in life, and he will be missed by many.

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