John Gary Curtis

December 24, 1930June 4, 2018

John G. "Jack" Curtis(1930 - 2018)

On the 4th of June 2018, John G. "Jack" Curtis of Granite Bay, CA hit the road and won't be coming back. His passing was the culmination of a full life & Parkinson's at the age of 87. Precocious and willfull from the start, Jack arrived in Bradford, PA on Christmas Eve 1930. As a boy Jack would discover a passion for amateur ham radio (W3NSJ/K6KU), an interest that would eventually grow from hobby to business. He wrote of "gazing at the glow of a beautiful vacuum tube and imagining how distant radio murmurers were making their way to my little radio. Later I learned how it worked and how to craft a transmitter or receiver, but for a child in the middle 1900's, it was magic." But before then he would graduate from Bradford High, receive a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Penn State in '52, work for Sperry Rand, serve as Lieutenant JG in the U.S. Navy in Japan from '54-'59 (learn Japanese), work for Corning Glass (earning 3 patents) and finally Signetics in the Silicon Valley ( illustrates his trade humor from this era). While employed, Jack simultaneously designed a keyer circuit prototype that worked so well he was convinced to start a side business thus Curtis Electro Devices was founded in 1968. But it was while working for Signetics that he made the revolutionary leap that a keyer circuit could be implemented on a memory chip establishing the 8043 & 8044 with other products to follow. (Reference A History of Curtis Keyers: How John Curtis revolutionized keying as we know it.) His contribution to the field was recognized by the Veteran Wireless Operators Association in 2008. Curtis Electro Devices also manufactured a series of memory programming devices, one of which became widely used in the early years of the cellular radio industry. Perhaps his greatest professional achievement was his final product enabling cellular installers to access the electronic serial signature remotely. A feat larger competitors indicated couldn't be done, he did single handedly in little over a year. The significance of this was only understood when a certain inventor of the personal computer called (twice) trying to ascertain how he had done it. His greatest personal achievement was to be liked, if not loved, by all. A soft-spoken man, he was a cross between Ernest Hemingway and a garden gnome. His wickedly sly sense of humor flew slightly under the radar requiring a double take and your full attention. When he spoke, people leaned in. And he loved attention. One winter he wore a bright red sweater for weeks with the huge angry face of Donald Duck on the front simply because he enjoyed the reaction he got. Otherwise his signature look included a shirt banded at the waist and glasses perched on his forehead. Jack will be remembered often by Mary Ann Curtis, his wife of 37 years, his three step children: Cynthia L. Anderson, Pamela K. Hanna, Victor A. Neeley, four grandchildren and younger brother Richard E. Curtis. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer M. and Esther Curtis, older brother William H. Howard and beloved cat Lucky. He will be laid to rest 11:00am Thursday, June 14th, 2018 at Resthaven 500 Southwest 104th St. Oklahoma City, OK 73139. Condolences to:


John Gary Curtis

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