OBITUARY

Curtis Bradley Stuckey

May 27, 1946August 10, 2021
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Curtis B. Stuckey, a civil rights attorney and a crusader for justice in East Texas, passed from this world Tuesday, August 10, 2021, in Nacogdoches, Texas, after a long illness.

Mr. Stuckey was born May 27, 1946, in Vincennes, Indiana, to parents Hoyt and Dorothy Stuckey; he was the second oldest of three brothers and grew up on a farm in Monroe City, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington (1967), served in the Peace Corps in Venezuela (1967-1969), and then attended Law School at Indiana University Bloomington.

In 1975, while teaching at the University of Tennessee College of Law, Curtis met law student Brenda Willett, who would later become his wife. The two were smitten at first sight but ultimately fell in love with each other’s mind, big heart, and shared view of the world. The young couple moved to Texas in 1980. They raised two children and lots of tomato plants together.

Stuckey had an esteemed career as a civil rights lawyer, often representing the underdogs and the marginalized. In 1975, he won the class action suit in Kentucky (Kendall v. True) that struck down a law permitting people to be involuntarily committed to mental hospitals without evidence they were a danger to anyone; patients previously held against their will were released in droves. Later, in Texas, Stuckey had the first jury trial victory related to the Fair Housing Act in East Texas, more than a decade after LBJ signed the law banning discrimination against people buying and renting homes.

In 1982, Stuckey hung up a shingle and founded the civil rights firm now called Stuckey & Garrigan. Mr. Stuckey earned a reputation for representing people whose rights had been violated by the police (often in cases of excessive force), who suffered unconstitutional conditions in the prison system, and who were discriminated against because of race. His lawsuits forced change. Many of them also tackled novel legal issues, and the reported decisions have been cited hundreds of times by the courts.

Outside of the courtroom, Curtis added levity to any room he entered. He made up silly songs, coached little league basketball, played spectacular peek-a-boo, and sent fruit baskets a plenty. He loved being a part of Austin Heights Baptist Church. Curt would have wanted you to know that he once beat his assistant Toni in a foot race and beat his law partner Tim driving back from Tyler (though Tim didn’t know it was a race).

In 2014, Stuckey developed a brain disorder that necessitated his retirement. He enjoyed more time to watch ball games (Hoosiers, Pacers, and Cardinals), to rewatch black and white movies, and to go out to lunch with people on their designated day of the week. He telephoned numerous friends and family daily, often announcing he was “just givin’ you a buzz to enjoy a brief exchange of pleasantries!” and reminding us all that we are “good, good, good.”

Curtis will be remembered as a civil rights warrior, a goofball, a loyal friend, an accepting spirit, a devoted husband, and a supportive dad and uncle. His legacy is kindness, encouragement, and connection. May we all be as willing as Curtis to face our personal and societal shortcomings, to right the wrongs we see in this world, and to love others boldly as God calls us to do. Surviving Family Mr. Stuckey is survived by his wife Brenda Willett Stuckey of Nacogdoches, TX and their adult children Joshua Chattin Stuckey (Rooskie) of Nacogdoches, TX and Ginny Wills Stuckey (Triple P) of Austin, TX; his older brother Ken (Brucey) and wife Marilyn of Lynchburg, VA and younger brother Brent and wife Becky of Vincennes, IN; brothers-in-law Davy Willett of TN and Steve Willett of OH; many nieces and nephews of Indiana, Virginia, Idaho, Tennessee, and Ohio -- Julie, Chris, Sarah, Zach, Katie, Maggie, Matt, Laura, Kevin, Aaron, Michael, Diane, Billy, Bobby, Janet, Patty, Jeanie, Judy, Gary, Cathy, Donna, Don Jr., and Freddy; as well as many grandnieces and grandnephews including Olivia, Joel, Anna, Abby, Jackson, Ava, Bennie, Becca, Joey, Ellie, and Leo. Mr. Stuckey was preceded in death by his parents, Hoyt and Dorothy Stuckey, by his mother-in-law Ruby Willett, and by his good friends John Heath (Big John) and Dr. Bob Carroll (Doc).

The Service and Support Time: Friday August 20th at 10:00 am Location: Online at AustinHeightsBaptist.org/stuckey

Honorary pallbearers are: Tim Ammons (House), Tim Garrigan (Bo) and Denise McDonald (Farmstress), Paul Furrh (Perch), Jane Swanson, William Schuetze (Shoompsky), Graham Cook, Larry Mealer (Green Vomit), John Heath Jr. (Little John), the Honorable Judith Guthrie, Luis and Veronica Baca, Kurt Berggren, Reuben Rigal, and John Black (Black John). Pastor Kyle Childress of Austin Heights Baptist Church will officiate.

Arrangements are being handled by Cason Monk-Metcalf Funeral Home. If you wish to honor Curt, consider donating to Austin Heights Baptist Church or Habitat for Humanity. The family hopes to hold an in-person celebration of life when the local Covid situation permits. At this time, the family would most love for you to share your memories and stories of Curtis on his tribute page: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/nacogdoches-tx/curtis-stuckey-10303700.

Services

  • Private Family Service with Livestream

    Friday, August 20, 2021

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Memories

Curtis Bradley Stuckey

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Wayne Helderman

September 13, 2021

Remembering the great times at MCHS and IU with Curt. In high school always pranking with us - somewhat of a rebel looking for a cause. But when he found his “cause” it was indeed a worthy one.
A life well lived and I’m sure the Good Lord welcomed Curt-
“Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers snd sisters of mine, you did it for me”



Keevin Biggs

September 10, 2021

Curt Stuckey was a wonderful high school friend. He was two years older than me and had a brilliant mind. He was one of my role models in high school and could speak on almost any subject for hours. He was very wise and was a role model, who made us think deeply and caused us to consider how to make the world a better place. Then, he went out and changed the world. My most fond memories were listening to him speak and debate in Sunday School class, when we were in high school. I have wondered about him for years. God bless you my friend! Rest In Peace!

Jocelyn Baca

August 26, 2021

Jocelyn Baca

August 26, 2021

Jocelyn Baca

August 26, 2021

I simply want to share a picture that sums up the joy that Mr. Curt brought to my family.

Pamela Martin

August 25, 2021

I met and worked with Mr. Stuckey when we both belonged to the Nacogdoches Chapter of NAACP. He was always one to get the job done and would keep you laughing. Such a man of integrity and honor and I know he will be missed by many. It was certainly an honor to know him

Brenda Willett Stuckey

August 23, 2021

Your memories and tributes have brought back to life the funny, vibrant, larger-than-life Curt. After his 7 year struggle with a failing body, the character Curt was has been reborn through your stories.
Curt is enjoying his new life in Heaven and is regaling and rejoicing with God and people whom he loved and who love him.
When you think of Curt, remember the joy in life and laughter he shared with you.
Thank you all.
Brenda, Josh, and Ginny

Kurt Berggren

August 22, 2021

At Louisville Legal Aid,we sent all unstable or mental cases to Curt.Once a woman came to his office & told him that some little green men were in her brain & threatening & harassing her.She asked for his help.So Curt picked up his phone & did a pretend call to the federal court.He asked the judge for his help in granting a permanent injunction.He said thank you judge & then told her that a permanent injunction had been entered & she would not be bothered again.She smiled,thanked him & left.Problem solved.Pure Stuckey.Good good good!

Toni Seay (Tomlin)

August 20, 2021

Curt did everything with his whole heart, especially when it came to his family. He absolutely adored his two babies and they and Brenda, who he called "Love", were his world. How blessed can you get?

Toni Seay (Tomlin)

August 20, 2021

This is "Toby"! I have the priviledge of owning one of Curt's famous nicknames, and worked as his assistant for more than 27 years. I can honestly say that Curt aka "Curty", was absolutely the most unpretentious soul I have ever known. His clients were always shocked at his relaxed, country boy demeanor. They would however, come to learn that he felt a deep personal responsibility for his clients. Curt took cases no one else would touch based only on his feeling that they had been done wrong, regardless of the evidence. The wonderful part was watching him win most of those very hard fought cases in court. Watching that deep rooted determination play out was a thing of beauty and I often wondered where that steadfast determination came from. Why he felt such a personal duty to right the civil wrongs done to others. I found out one of those reasons driving him to court one morning. He told me that he was actually in Washington DC when the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964...must have been epic! Now, in thinking of all the years knowing him and working by his side, it seems obvious to me that Curt never saw color, age, sex, disability, well you get the point, Curt only saw his perception of your soul! I think that is one reason children loved him so. He never talked down to them and often went down to their physical level to "exchange pleasantries". I think this was because he was very childlike. Most of the time, when he wasn't conflected over the "issue of the day", he wore that innocence on his face for all to see...that goofy grin, and whole body laugh that was so infectious you couldn't help being drawn into his world. His genuine honesty was like no other.
He was a simple, yet complicated human being who believed with his whole heart that we are all equal, no matter our circumstance. We are all children of God, brothers and sisters and should always treat one another with dignity and respect! I will miss him!

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