Bird Ernest Curtiss, 86, passed away at home in Ocala, Florida, on April 1, 2022, with his loving wife Betty at his side, after a difficult battle with Progressive Bulbar Palsy, a variant of ALS.
Bird, also known as “Sonny,” was born to Mortimer & Gladys Curtiss in Basin, Montana. He grew up in Deer Lodge, Mt. He married Mary Ann Ivers in 1954 and had five children. He worked in the logging and mining industry to provide for his family.
Moving to Alaska in 1969, Bird quickly made friends and moved the family. Alaska was his home for 39 years. He had a successful career as a traveling Master Mechanic with the Local 302 Operating Engineers, but he wanted to be home with his family. So he found work that would allow him to spend time at home with family working as an Alaska Airlines Property Maintenance Manager before starting his own construction company,
“Curtiss Construction Inc.” was born, and Bird became a respected and sought-after builder building log homes and other quality homes in and around Fairbanks, Alaska. He branched out to commercial building of cabins and the Lodge expansion at Chena Hot Springs Resort. When the home building crisis hit Alaska, Bird went on to doing remodeling of foreclosures for the Banks. Then, he was offered and accepted the position of General Manager for Chena Hot Springs Resort. Here Bird learned he had a love for cooking. Still, his favorite part of this job was the evenings when he spent his time entertaining worldwide guests, reciting the poetry of Robert Service. Some of the poems he was famous for reciting were “Spell of the Yukon ” and “The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill,” to name a couple. The people would fill the lodge, and Bird brought the poetry to life.
Bird, being a passionate craftsman, could be found in his workshop throughout his retirement years; he loved working on gifts for family and friends when he was not traveling. Bird and Mary Ann traveled North America by motorhome to visit with Family and Friends returning to Alaska for the summers and snowbirding in winter. Visiting with family and friends was one of the happiest and best pastimes. Family and friends meant the world to him.
In 2007 after the passing of Mary Ann, Bird left Alaska one more time in his motorhome. Again, he traveled to visit family and friends along the way. Finally, he headed to Florida, where a new romance began. Betty Steele & Bird Curtiss had found their soulmate, and they lived happily married for 14 years. They enjoyed traveling together near and far for a few years before settling down and moving from Orlando to Ocala. Family and friends alike could feel and see the love these two had for one another. Betty took care of Bird until his dying day, loving and comforting him without a doubt of their love for each other.
Anyone who knew Bird knew that he was the most loving son, brother, friend, husband, father a family could ask for. Bird was predeceased by his parents; his wife of 52 ½ years, Mary Ann (Ivers) Curtiss, daughter Nancy Lee Herbst, son Robert Eugene Curtiss; his sisters and brothers, EvaBelle (Curtiss) Duncan, and Clifton & Clifford Gottbreht, Joyce Webb Curtiss, Narcico “Chico” Ortiz Curtiss.
The family who survives Bird are his beloved wife, Betty (Steele) Curtiss, and son James Dennis Curtiss of Ocala, Fl. His daughters and son-in-laws Beverly (Lloyd) Schommer of Bella Vista, AR., and Bonita (Jim) Mason of Fairbanks, Ak., his daughters by extension and much love, Angie Steele of Lake City, Brenda Baillargeon of Cocoa, Fl, and Sheryl Steele of St Augustine, Fl.; His grandchildren are Crystal Ann Schulz, Daniel Herbst, Angela Marie (Schulz) Beck, Douglas Herbst, Kacie Ann Mason, and Leah DeAnn Curtiss. His great-grandchildren are Johnathan Andrew and Joshua Daniel Burnette, Samantha Nicole and Alexander Paul Lantz, Mystique Mason, and Emily Rayne Beck. His great-great-granddaughter is Adaline Elizabeth Lantz; Bird’s sisters & brothers, Darlene Curtiss Conn, Ronnie Curtiss, Eva Montes Adsitt Curtiss, Joan Torres Reed Curtiss, Carol Rodriguez Curtiss Zado, Ina Rodriguez Curtiss Martin, Ida May Curtiss Nerdrum, Birdie Curtiss Marciel, Juanita Curtiss Adames, Mort Curtiss, Cymon Anthony “Tony” Curtiss, Aremandy “Mandy” Curtiss Rossland; and many near and dear close Nieces and Nephews.
There will be no services. However, we invite everyone to visit the Memorial page and share their memories, stories, photos, and condolences with the Family on the Tribute Wall pages. https://baldwincremation.com/obituaries/bird-ernest-curtiss/
In place of flowers, please donate to The Gleason Team for ALS Patient Assistance https://teamgleason.org/ or Kindred Hospice 1320 SE 25th Loop #101, Ocala, Fl, 34471 https://www.kindredhospice.com/locations/kindred-hospice-ocala/