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William J Curtis

August 7, 2019
William J Curtis
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Obituary for William J Curtis

William Joseph Curtis of Cranford, NJ, died early August 7, 2019, from natural causes at Overlook Hospital in Summit. Friends are invited to visit from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM Friday at the Dooley Funeral Home, 218 North Avenue West in Cranford. A Mass of Christian burial is at 9:30 AM Saturday at St. Michael’s Church in Cranford. Burial is in Fairview Cemetery, Westfield NJ.

Bill was born December 15, 1928 in Belle Harbor, NY, the oldest child of William Curtis, Jr. and Adeline (Egel). He graduated Far Rockaway HS in 1946 where he was a top member of its championship rifle team. He enlisted in the US Navy and worked as an aviation machinist for a fighter squadron on the aircraft carrier Valley Forge. Discharged late in 1949, he joined the Navy Reserves at Floyd Bennett Field as a flight engineer aboard patrol planes. He was recalled to active duty in 1950 during the Korean War servicing jet fighter squadrons on the Valley Forge and Essex. He received numerous service medals and commendations, and separated from service in 1952 as a Petty Officer 2nd Class.

Bill worked at the Sperry Gyroscope Company and was then hired by IBM as a Field Engineer servicing data processing machines in the insurance and brokerage industries in lower Manhattan. It was there that he met an insurance keypunch operator who would become his wife. He received numerous service awards throughout his 39 years with IBM and retired in 1992 as an Area Designated Specialist.

Bill married Mary Catherine Walsh on February 4, 1961. They first resided in Rutherford, NJ, and then moved to Cranford in 1964. His life revolved around his wife, his children, and his work. He was able to fix anything. With a home in Cranford and a summer place in Breezy Point, NY, plus a number of aging automobiles, he was always busy repairing or salvaging something. Plumbing, carpentry, roofing, and keeping “The Fleet” going were his passions. He’d never pay the “Man” to fix anything; he would do it himself. He surf fished as long as the weather allowed and went on a weeklong hunting trip each November. At his summer home on Jamaica Walk, he was Block Captain for many years. He was a trustee of the Point Breeze Association, and authored “Flotsam & Jetsam” a column in the Rockaway Point News for decades. In retirement, Bill was a trustee of the Cranford Historical Society, their fix-it man, and a docent at the Crane-Phillips House Museum.

Bill is survived by his three children: daughter Maureen Lang and her husband, Michael, son Bill and his husband Ed Menapace, and daughter Susan; his three grandchildren, Samantha, Andrew, and Kevin Lang; and many nieces and nephews. His loving wife Mary, his parents, his sister Carol, and brother Wallace predeceased Bill. Memorial donations may be made to the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, PO Box 476, Convent Station, NJ 07961-0476,

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