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Benjamin Wheeler Curtis
September 9, 1928 ~ May 31, 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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Ben was married to Audrey Ann Hornick, and they had two children, Cathy and Tom. He spent his younger life in Minnesota. Continual learning was a hallmark of Ben. Even as a young man, he wanted to learn how the world worked. He would read all books (especially Sherlock Holmes.) He collected stamps, and found an interest in science, astronomy, golf, ceramics, and travel. As a kid in Boy Scouts, Ben achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest ranking given in scouts. As a parent, he was scoutmaster of Happy Valley Troop 191. Over the years, he took the scouts on arrowhead hunts, weekend snow survival campouts on Mt. Hood, summer camps at Meriwether on the Oregon coast, and many weekend hikes and campouts to lakes in and around the state.
Later in life, Ben first attended St. Olaf College, then the University of Minnesota, graduating with a degree in chemistry, and eventually, his dental degree. He played football for St. Olaf. One year, they had a scheduled game against Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. They took the train there and back. After the game, on that very sunny Sunday morning, he opened the door to his motel room and found himself looking straight at Mt. Rainier with Puget Sound to his left. At that moment, he said to himself that he would live on the West Coast someday. That dream came true in 1958!
After graduating from dental school, Dr. Curtis joined the Air Force, and during his tenure, practiced dentistry at a small Air Force outpost in Utah. In the years that followed, he became a member of Mensa, a professor, and an instructor of dentistry.
Dr. Curtis accomplished a great deal in his life, but dentistry was truly his passion. Professionally, he was president of the Oregon Dental Association, member and chair of the Oregon Board of Dentistry, and he served as editor for the Academy of General Dentistry’s monthly newsletter. In it, for years, he wrote a column titled, “Thoughts While Holding and Impression Tray,” which won several national Dental Journalism awards. One of Dr. Curtis’s proudest achievements was being honored by President Ronald Reagan, and Vice President George Bush, at the White House Rose Garden ceremony for the national “We Can, We Care” award. The award recognized private companies that made major contributions to the wellbeing of their community.
Dr. Curtis’s favorite hobby was golf. He joined Riverside Golf and Country Club in 1958, and played with the same foursome every Wednesday and Saturday. Those days of the week were called “sacred days.” In 1976, he hit a hole-in-one on the backside par 3 and was able to check off a bucket list item. When he retired from Riverside, he was the fourth longest standing member at the club (60 years.)
Ben Curtis was a true renaissance man. He had a broad knowledge of the arts, sciences, and the world at large. Once in every person’s life, a special person touches them. During his 94 years, there were many people that met Ben Curtis, and would undoubtedly acknowledge the feel of his special touch to their heart and soul. Rest in peace.
Ben is survived by his son Tom, and his wife, Connie; his grandchildren, Kelsey Hanset (Luke,) and Daniel, Adriane, Caylen, and Olivia; great grandchildren, Colton, Benjamin (Benny,) Amaya, Ciana, and Lila. He was preceded in death by his parents, Doris and Benjamin; his wife, Audrey; and his daughter, Cathy.