Henry Curtis

June 16, 1918 - March 1, 1997

 

In the fall of 1961 while a student at Georgia Tech, I first met Henry Curtis. I fell in love with his daughter, Buffie, married her in 1963, and together we had four children.

Henry (or Harry as his friends knew him, or Papa as his grandchildren referred to him) was the sixth of a string of Henry Curtis', and the third generation to be involved in the company that his grandfather formed in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1886. Much has been written of his business accomplishments. He was the finest, most ethical, and honest businessman that I have ever known. He had an uncanny knack of surrounding himself with talented individuals to accomplish a mission, and built one of the finest marketing organizations in American Business. While these accomplishments are impressive, and the financial empire that was accumulated is positive, irrefutable, and impressive proof of his success, I have other more personal memories.

Practically every Sunday, from 1963 to 1977, we went to his house for lunch and to spend the afternoon with Hoho (his wife, Lonnie) and Papa. He and I sat and discussed business, and he coached and mentored me. In the 60's it was about Curtis 1000, and in the 70's it turned to oil and gas.

Even after Buffie and I divorced in 1977, I continued to work for him and to be inspired by his leadership. We had become involved in the energy business together, and worked and traveled together until his retirement in 1988. The fact that I was no longer married to his daughter was never an issue, he was my Father-in-law and I was his Son-in-law, and this never changed.

I remember vacations in Barbados and St. Maarten at Christmas, ski trips to Aspen, setting up off-shore trusts in the Caribbean, drilling gas wells in Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming, Investment Company meetings, and Board of Director's meetings.

But most of all I remember a kind, gentle man who I am proud to have had the privilege of knowing, having him a part of my life, and being the grandfather of my children. I will miss him very much as will the rest of his family.

Every holiday he always led the family in the family toast, reminding us to think of those not with us for whatever reason. And so, Harry Curtis, here's to you, "Health, long life, happiness, and love".