Former Wiscasset Selectman Bill Curtis passed away Oct. 3, after losing his battle with cancer. (Photo courtesy Dorothy Curtis)
By Charlotte Boynton
There are very few people living in Wiscasset that didn’t know William J. “Bill” Curtis. He was a man that served his country in the time of war, and a man that served his community until the very end. He completed his last term as selectman in June 2013, at the age of 85.
Bill lost his fight for life Oct. 3, at the age of 86, after a battle with cancer. He was not a native of Wiscasset, but the strong dedication he had for the town could match the dedication of any native son. All through his life he was committed to community service.
Bill, his wife Dorothy, and their two children, Sheryll and David, moved to Wiscasset in November 1977 from Ashland, Mass. In Ashland, Bill was active in the fire department. He was also a member of the planning board and a member of the industrial commission.
After moving to Wiscasset, Curtis quickly became involved in the community, joining the Wiscasset Ambulance Service, and the fire department. He later became the director of the ambulance service. Curtis also served on the Wiscasset Airport Committee, the Economic Development Committee, and two terms on the Board of Selectmen.
His wife Dorothy said, “His passion and deep interest was the fire service, planes/aeronautics and safety related issues,” Dorothy Curtis said. “He just loved excitement.”
“I can recall while we were dating, watching him climb the telephone poles on Saturdays to assist the fire captain with the installation of fire alarms,” Dorothy said.
Together, Bill and Dorothy decided to take Emergency Medical Technician training and later passed the national examination. With that behind them, they went on to become advanced First Aid Instructors with the American Red Cross.
In 1946, at the age of 18, Curtis enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was sent to Korea. He was once quoted saying he didn’t know what was in store for him during the mop up operations in the Pacific Theater after World War II. After completing his service commitment he went to Spartan College of Aeronautic and Technology in Tulsa, Okla.
On February 9, 1957 he married Dorothy, who also had grown up and graduated from the same high school in Framingham, Mass. At that time Bill was a senior supervisor, in the traffic department of New England Telephone and Telegraph Company in Framingham. Dorothy said he continued his involvement with the fire department and other community affairs.
In Maine, Dorothy said Bill enjoyed occasional fishing and hunting near their northwoods camp, where they shared many camp fires and pot-luck dinners with special friends. “We skied and snowmobiled as a family for several winters when the children were young, at Saddleback Mountain, Rangeley, and at King Ridge in New Hampshire. We went snowmobiling in the Greenville area near our camp,” Dorothy said.
Larry Gordan, who served as a town selectman for 27 years, from 1970 to 1998, said during a telephone interview, “Bill did a heck of a job as ambulance director; of course in those days it was all volunteer, and he ran a tight ship. He was a very smart man, and a man that was well liked and respected by the people in the town. He certainly will be missed.”