E. Wayne Curtis
September 17, 1920 – November 9, 2020
On November 9, 2020, E. Wayne Curtis, 100, of Oklahoma City, quietly slipped away to be with the Lord and is now celebrating his eternal homecoming in Heaven.
He was born in Monroe County, Tennessee, on September 17, 1920. After graduation, Wayne worked at the Alcoa Plant in Knoxville when WWII broke out. He joined the armed services, a Captain in the US Marine Corp, serving State-side as a fighter pilot flight instructor. His military training brought him to the Norman Naval Air Station in Norman, Oklahoma, where he met his future bride of 65 years, Bettie J. Rea of Oklahoma City. They married in January 1944 and settled back in OKC for the long haul. He was honorably discharged from the service in 1958. After the war, the GI Bill provided an opportunity for Wayne to attend college, but he knew he needed to work, and so began his life-long entrepreneurial journey. He started by selling encyclopedias door-to-door and then to selling beer boxes to restaurants. He sold shake makers to a young, ambitious Ray Crock and eventually started his namesake, Curtis Restaurant Supply. A pioneer in the restaurant equipment world, his legendary presence, support, and influence spurred successes nationwide still in operation today.
As a father, husband, friend, and Christian, Wayne modeled undeniable integrity, honesty, grace, kindness, compassion, and generosity to his family, friends, and everyone in his presence. He was always there when you needed him, even if you didn’t ask. His faith in Jesus Christ was his bedrock. He loved his church, Crossings Community Church, volunteering at Crossings’ Medical Clinic until age 96 and attending a morning men’s Bible study up to age 99. The light of his faith shone to everyone he met. He was a true Tennessee gentleman...with a caring heart, uplifting humor, gleeful gratitude, engaging smile, common-sense wisdom, and a dapper look that was only surpassed by his ever-present humility. He loved everybody, and everybody loved him. He adored food, especially banana pudding and everything Bettie made. With each culinary delight, he would always declare, “That’s the best I’ve ever had!”. He loved the lake, playing gin rummy, OU football, golf, and the holidays - especially Christmas, surrounded by family, extended family, and friends.
He experienced the introduction of electricity and indoor plumbing to homes, survived the Great Depression, distinctly remembered the days of the nickel hamburgers, viewed the birth of television, celebrated the first man on the moon, and witnessed the invention of the computer and cell phones (although he never really did learn to use either one). He believed in staying active, both physically and mentally, exercising and reading up to the very end. Being 100 years old, he was preceded in death by just about everyone.
Wayne is survived by: his children Dick (and Dee) Curtis, Jennie Curtis, and Ted (and Kara) Curtis; his grandchildren Catherine (and Aaron) Jarrette, Christine (and Scott) Fleer, Clara Curtis, KateLynn “Katie” Curtis, and Will Curtis; his great grandchildren Aidan, Rylie, Peyton, & Brennan Jarrette, Mazie & Lexi Fleer; his nieces/nephew LeeAnn (and Tom) Powell, Rea (and Joe) Baldridge, and Michael Baldridge.
Our family would like to express gratitude to the doctors and nurses at Mercy Hospital for the great care they gave to Wayne and to the staff that cared directly for him at Epworth Villa. To Bob & Janet Clift, Karen Marshall, and his Tuesday morning Bible group - Thank you for being such great friends. “You made his day.” And to Jimmie McCallum - thank you for being an angel on earth to him. He loved all of you so very much. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wayne will be buried in a private family service, with full military honors. His memorial service will be postponed until after the pandemic is better under control.
Viewing will be Monday, November 16 from 12:00-8:00pm at Hahn-Cook/ Street & Draper Funeral Home (6600 Broadway Ext, 73116). No appointment necessary.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation or to the Red River Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Monday, November 16, 2020
E. Wayne Curtis
November 17, 2020
Some people are blessed to have a great dad...I got to have two - my own daddy and my father-in-law, Wayne. He modeled love, kindness, generosity, integrity, and grace to his own kids (I'm blessed to be married to one of those boys) and to his grandchildren (two of which are my children). He was the beloved patriarch in our family, and we so, so dearly miss him. I miss his phone calls, his wonderful little laugh, his gratitude for literally everything, and the quirky way he'd just hang up at the end of phone call without saying goodbye. Our hearts are heavy, and they hurt, but they also hold a great joy that can't be taken away by death - a joy that knows we will be together again someday soon. Until then, we love you, EW. We love you so much.
November 14, 2020
Wayne was a gentleman among everyone and was an excellent example of what all men should be. I will forever remember him as a friend and gentleman.
November 13, 2020
My Deepest Sympathies to the Curtis Family. Wayne was a wonderful Man in all aspects of life and I will never forget him. Wayne was my first employer and a driving force in my life and career. Wayne truly shaped my ideologies that I practice to the best of my ability every day. Wayne will always be in my thoughts and my heart and I am a better person for knowing him.
Jeff J Swindle
November 12, 2020
Wayne was a gentleman with charisma, who will always be in my heart. He was kind, thoughtful and a caring man who loved his family deeply. He was a Christian man. I will truly miss him.
November 12, 2020
On behalf of Continental Refrigerator, we offer our sincere condolences to the Curtis family. Our prayers and thoughts are with you.
November 11, 2020
A wonderful man a wonderful husband and a wonderful father.
November 10, 2020
Wonderful Daddo, I was just remembering about when you used to take me to lunch in the summers to Charleston’s, it was a little date for us. You would always get potato soup and I would get chicken tenders and we would just talk, you always listened. Thank you for your devotion to your family. Thank you for being such a wonderful grandfather to me, Christine, Catherine, Will, and Katie, and a wonderful great-grandfather to Rylie, Aidan, Brennan, Peyton, Mazie, and Lexi. You were a rock, and you still are. I will hold your memory in my heart for the rest of my life. Thank you, and I love you.
November 10, 2020
I considered "Wayne" Curtis as a friend. He was a gentleman and courteous to all. I appreciate the opportunity to have known him as a resident of Epworth Villa. I often would see him visit the Brill Chapel, as he would come in and have prayer and meditation.
May the wonderful grace of the Lord, encourage and minister comfort and peace to the family.
In Christ, Chaplain Adrian Martin, EAH