Richard “Dick” Curtiss was born August 23, 1940 at Mt. Carmel West Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. His education was through the Columbus Public Schools, graduating in 1958 from West High School. While at West, Dick participated in marching band until the time he was asked to announce a football game one Friday evening. Little did he know, that this event would shape a lifelong career as a high school sports announcer! He also participated in cross-country, track, and basketball for the West High Cowboys. Dick was involved with demolay and played basketball for his chapter while in high school and as a young adult. He played on several intramural basketball and
softball teams throughout high school, even winning
a few championships.
After graduating from West, Dick attended The Ohio State University. He graduated from OSU in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. While a student, he was involved with a religious fraternity, Sigma Theta Epsilon, and held the office of president. With his Education Degree, Dick began teaching elementary school in Columbus Public Schools. During this time, he was selected to attend Clark Atlanta University, as part of the NDEA (National Defense Education Act). He was pursuing his Master’s Degree in school guidance counseling and this University was a HBCU (historically Black college/university) school where white students could enroll in a historically Black college. During his time in Atlanta, he met his wife, Brenda. They married on August 21, 1966 and returned to Columbus. He completed his school guidance program through The Ohio State University, graduating in 1966 with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling.
South-Western City Schools employed Dick as a guidance counselor for over 30 years. Most of his time was spent at Westland High School, as he was part of the original 1970 opening staff at the school. He announced all the Friday night home football games as well as the basketball games and he became well known as the “Voice of the Cougars”. He retired from his position in 1993, but his “Voice of the Cougars” continued well over 40 years at Westland. The National Honor Society Chapter at Westland is named in his honor, as is the Press Box. When he was not at Westland, Dick managed to find time to work as a manager at the community swimming pool, LIVCO.
After retirement, Dick began working with Prodigy Student Travel. He became a licensed official Washington, D.C. tour guide taking many middle and high school groups on trips to our nation’s capital. He truly loved working with young adults and his passion was helping and supporting students through their transition into adulthood. He was a caring individual and treated everyone with kindness, regardless of background. This was evident from everyone who knew him. Not only did he stay connected with the students that he loved and nurtured, he also continued to shape educators for the future with both his advisement and monetary donations. In addition, he continued to serve on the OSU Educational Alumni Board. Although very busy, he continued to also give back to the West High School community. He was a scholarship committee reader, donated to the scholarship fund, and attended general meetings and activities of the West High School Alumni Association, such as the annual West High School Golf Scramble.
Dick was also involved in the far west Columbus community activities. He sat on many Boards, including the Southwest Public Library Board for 17 years and the Advisory Board for Doctors West Hospital. Dick was a lifelong resident of the west side and was very active in the Lincoln Village Resident Association. He created the first-ever community garage sale, “Flea Fantasia for Lincoln Village”. He was the Master of Ceremonies for the Lincoln Village Fourth of July celebrations as well as helped with planning the annual event. Dick was also the recipient of the prestigious Southwestern City Schools Bell Award. This award is given to teachers who go above and beyond their duties. They can be nominated by staff, parents, or students. Dick was deeply loved and respected by all who knew him. He was an exemplary alumnus and was always proud of his Hilltop and West High roots. He was an outstanding student and community member while in high school, but became a literal “legend of the west side of Columbus”.
Dick and Brenda, along with their two children, Christina (Troy) Shore and Dan (Ginger) Curtiss were very proud residents of the community. Their children and grandsons all graduated from Westland High School. Dick was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in New Rome. While a member, he served on the Church Council and sang in the Chancellor Choir and Men’s Choir Group. His life became “full circle” when he passed away at Mt. Carmel West Hospital, surrounded by his family and in the community he loved.
Susan Katon Ward, Class of 1970, nominated Dick.