Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Lester Ross Curtiss, age 85, received his final orders from the Supreme Commander, and marched off with Guidon and Colors flying on September 25, 2012. Colonel Curtiss was a Man for all Seasons: Poet, Historian, Educator, Master Soldier, Master Parachutist, Master Mason, and Master Gardner.
Les was born to Earl and Beulah Curtiss, October 31, 1926, in Owen, Wisconsin. By the time he was in Junior High School, the family had moved to the small town of Black River Falls. His High School days were very successful. Les was President of his Class and co-captain of his football team, and excelled in boxing, ice skating, swimming and diving. He participated in forensics, winning local, district, and state competition with his oration, “The Value of Freedom.”
World War II was still raging when Les graduated from High School; he joined the Army Paratroops, serving in the 13th and 82nd Airborne Divisions. In 1951, he volunteered for Korea. During his military career, the family lived in ten states from New Jersey to California, and resided three years in Panama and two years in Paris, France. He also spent time in Alaska, Korea, Japan, and two tours in Vietnam. Les was awarded many medals and awards for his outstanding service.
Upon retiring from the Army in 1970, the family moved to Colorado Springs. In 1973, Les became a member of the Faculty at Falcon High School, District 49. He was elected President of the Teachers Association. During his fourteen years at Falcon, Les was Chairman of the Social Studies Department, and taught U.S. History, World History, Civics, Literature, Geography, Speech, Mathematics, and Student Government. He completed his Master’s Degree at the University of Colorado, and was admired as a compassionate and outstanding teacher. When Les retired from teaching he belonged to the Masons and several Veteran Organizations.
The most important love in Les’ life was his family. Les is survived by his beautiful wife Madlyn Curtiss; four wonderful daughters and son-in-laws, Candice and Steve Lanning, Dawn and Joe Bailey, Heather and Jeff Sperber, and Megan and Gary Willison; and four very special grandchildren, Steve, Michael, Taylor, and Justin. He is preceded in death by his granddaughter, Cherie.
A Celebration of Les Curtiss’ Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 13th, 2012, Lemberg Chapel, First United Methodist Church, 420 North Nevada Avenue. A reception will occur, following the Memorial Service, at the First United Methodist Church Hospitality Center.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, 1 South Nevada Avenue, Suite 205, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80903, Telephone Number: 719-377-9491.