Paul Robinson Curtis

Aug 14, 1931 - Apr 2, 2017

Paul's Story

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Bangor - Paul Robinson Curtis died on April 2, 2017, in Bangor, Maine, after a long illness. Paul was born at the Baptist Mission Hospital in Hanumakonda, India, on August 14, 1931, the second child of Philip Sheldon Curtis, Jr., and the former Doris Bowen, missionaries of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. Except for the furlough year 1936, Paul grew up in India, and was educated at Kodaikanal School in the Palni Hills of South India. He retained his affection for
Kodai and all things Indian for the rest of his life, from cooking to music to the few words of Telugu he learned as a child.
In 1945, near the end of World War II, Paul and his family, now including four children, returned to the United States on the Swedish neutral repatriation liner Gripsholm. While his father obtained a Master's Degree at Union Seminary Paul attended George Washington High School in New York City for a year. In 1946 the family moved to Ventnor, New Jersey, where he attended Atlantic City High School, graduating in 1948, after his father had returned to India and died there in 1947. Paul's mother moved with her four children to Ohio, where she found employment, and where Paul followed his older brother Philip to The College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio.
After graduating with a BA degree in biology from Wooster in 1952, he was drafted into the US Army, was given 16 weeks of infantry basic training at Indiantown Gap, and was sent to Korea in the spring of 1953 as an infantry replacement. In Korea, he was proud to serve with the 5th Regimental Combat Team, and was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge (CIB) as well as various campaign medals. In early 1954, Paul returned to the US, where he served out his military obligation at Fort Knox, KY.
Paul then took advantage of the GI Bill to enter the graduate program in microbiology at The Ohio State University, where he obtained a Master of Science degree in 1957 and a Ph.D. degree in 1961.
His first teaching position was as Assistant Professor in the biology department at The American University in Washington, D.C., where he remained for ten years, and was awarded tenure as an Associate Professor. In his first year at AU he married Sirje Pold, who had been a fellow graduate teaching assistant at Ohio State. While they were in Washington, their daughter Lynn and son Robert were born.
In 1970, Paul left AU for the new and experimental Eisenhower College in Seneca Falls, NY, where he helped develop the unique World Studies Program required of all students, and he became a tenured full professor in 1976. During his time at Eisenhower he was able to travel extensively, especially in Asia. Unfortunately, the college was underfunded, and was acquired in 1979 by Rochester Institute of Technology as their liberal arts college. RIT closed Eisenhower in 1983, and many of the faculty, including Paul, were released.
In the spring of 1983 Paul obtained a biology teaching position at Husson College in Bangor, Maine, where he taught microbiology and other courses in the nursing program and as general electives. After regaining tenure at the rank of full professor, he retired as an Emeritus Professor in 1995.
In his retirement Paul was busy with his many interests and hobbies, including gardening and photography. His tomatoes, nourished with homemade compost and grown in double-dug beds, were exceptionally delicious. For ten years Paul was the editor or One More Hill, the newsletter of the Burton-Goode-Sargent chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association. He was also a member of numerous associations, including The American Association for Microbiology
(Emeritus), The American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Society of the Sigma Xi, the Korean War Veterans Association, the 5th Regimental Combat Team Association, and the Outpost Harry Survivors Association.
Paul was predeceased by his brothers Philip and Don, and is survived by his wife Sirje, children Lynn (Terry), of Pawtucket, RI, and Bob (Sandy), of Scarborough, ME; grandchildren Sam, Jane, and Finn, and sister Jean Scott of Medina, OH, as well as nieces and nephews living in Colorado, Minnesota, and Ohio. The family will hold a remembrance at a later time.
Condolences to the family may be expressed at BrookingsSmith.com
Published on  April 6, 2017
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