MODESTO, CALIFORNIA — Patch Curtis of Modesto, California, passed away September 29, 2020 at the age of 99.
Patch was born April 10, 1921, to Joseph Nahum Curtis, Jr. and Cynthia Jane Skaggs in St. David, Arizona. His father’s family were Mormon pioneers who trekked across the continent. They settled in Utah until 1881 when Brigham Young requested they help homestead the St. David area. Patch lost his mother at age seven, and continued to grow up on his family’s ranch. He planned to make the ranch his livelihood and earned a scholarship to University of Arizona, Tucson majoring in Agriculture. Life took a different turn, and due to the Depression, he found himself facing a future without his family ranch. In 1939, after graduating high school, Patch took a trip to the California Bay Area and found an opportunity to work at Friden Calculating Machine Company in San Leandro, California.
December 8, 1941 Patch attempted to join the Marines. He was declined due to being nearsighted. The following August, Patch was drafted into the Army. He was sent back to California to help operate an ordnance training facility at Santa Anita Racetrack where he eventually achieved the rank of sergeant. He remained there until November of 1944, when he was assigned to Troop B, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Philippines. In early March, the 1st Cavalry Division had moved to the island of Luzon. Patch served as a combat soldier for five months, when on March 8, he was shot twice by enemy fire – first in his left shoulder, then in the right side of his chest. Due to the efforts and courage of his squad, he was carried to aid nearly 13 hours later.
Upon recovery from his injuries, Patch returned to his former job at Friden, where he remained employed for 36 years. November 18, 1945, he married Doris Maurine White. They were together for 23 years and had four children: Maurine (Richard) Baucom, Cynthia (Rick, deceased) Thomas, Joseph Curtis, and Charles (Marte) Curtis. From Doris and Patch’s four children, their descendants number: 13 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
Patch met Delores Powell and had a second chance at love; he welcomed her children as his own: John (Glory) Powell, Patti Lee (Russell, deceased) Hester, Casey (Connie, deceased) Powell, and Michael Powell. They have 13 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren. Delores and Patch were together 38 years until her death April 1, 2012.
Patch shared his bright personality and witty sense of humor with all he encountered. He always had a smile on his face and a story to share. Patch’s grandchildren especially loved listening to his accounts of ranch life as a child, growing up like a cowboy, his family relationships, moving to California, being a soldier in WWII, being shot and his lengthy recovery, the joy of being a father, and his spiritual beliefs.
Patch is survived by his sister Adena Johnson of Lakeside, Arizona. He is preceded in death by his brothers, Kenneth Curtis and Nelson Curtis.
A funeral will be held in St. David, Arizona 11:00 a.m., October 10, 2020.
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