Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Alden LeRoy Curtis

Dr. Alden LeRoy Curtis, 83, of Worland, Wyoming, passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, July 5, 2023 at Washakie Medical Center. Alden was the second son of Clayton and Dorothy (Hull) Curtis and was born on May 9, 1940 in Loveland, Colorado. He always considered himself a Wyoming and Worland native, despite the fact that his parents had traveled from Worland to Loveland so his maternal aunt, Dr. Grace Hull, could deliver him. That love of his hometown and state was a significant part of his heart, character, and the loving, loyal man he was.

Alden met Janice Jeanne Starkebaum while he was attending high school at Campion Academy, near Loveland. The two became an inseparable pair. Four years later the high school sweethearts married on August 9,1959, in Grand Junction, Colorado. They would be married for fifty-two years.

After finishing prerequisite courses in Grand Junction, Alden and Janice moved to Forest Grove, Oregon where he received his training to become an Optometric Doctor at Pacific University. It was his dream to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Paul E. Curtis, and father Clayton C. Curtis, in becoming an optometrist as they and his brother, Duane, had done.

During his years in school in Oregon, Alden and Janice's daughter, Shelley was born. A few months later, he finished his training, receiving his degree. Alden's father invited him to become his partner in Worland, and he became the "young Dr. Curtis" in the optometric practice. Later, in 1977, when Duane moved from his Colorado office, father and two sons would be in practice together at the office building Dr. Clayton had built in 1959, until their respective retirements.

After settling in Worland, Alden and Janice's son, Barry, was born. Shortly after, Alden was called to military service during the Vietnam War. He served his course of duty on the Tooele Army Depot in Utah. After being honorably discharged, the family returned to Worland in 1968 where he began his long career serving the vision needs of his friends and neighbors in the Big Horn Basin. His many patients will remember the quality of his care, friendly spirit, kindness and humor.

While he enjoyed the pursuit and appreciation of all kinds of game and fish, his favorite adventure was the pursuit of Big Horn Mountain Sheep. During his lifetime, he drew six permits, bringing home four successful trophies for his efforts. Alden not only personally valued the sport of hunting, but he was equally dedicated to passing that enthusiasm on to the next generation of sportspersons. He served as a Hunter's Safety instructor in Washakie County for nearly thirty years, teaching young men and women the skills and appreciation required for an ethical and responsible pursuit of the pastime he so loved.

Of all Alden's many life experiences, his and Janice's greatest joy was their precious grandchildren. Camping, hiking, hunting, jokes and stories were the highlights of having Alden Curtis as a grandfather. To them, he was "Gramps," and someone who was always eager to spend time with them and included them in his adventures. He was so proud to teach some of them in his Hunter's Safety classes, and until the most recent hunting season, he could be found accompanying his son and grandson on hunting trips. He was gifted and artistic, enjoying drawing and creating. He passed that talent along to his daughter and various grandchildren as well, blessing them all with his focus and attention.

Alden and Janice's love for their community included their large circle of friends, and their participation as members of the Worland Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Because of the great love Alden believed God continually showed him, he embraced getting to know Jesus through study, prayer, and service to others. He firmly believed that this was the most fulfilling way to live. During the dark days of Janice's brief battle with pancreatic cancer, he was sustained by the time he spent with his Creator and the family he dearly loved. When Janice passed away on January 8, 2012, he spent her final moments praying at her side. His children will be forever blessed by his example as a devoted husband and loving father, and for introducing them to a loving and personal God.

After some years alone in Worland, Alden reconnected with a former classmate, Kay Schwark Leaf. Kay had also recently lost her husband, and they understood the loss each felt in that experience. Together, they were blessed to find love, laughter, and companionship in their later lives. They married on September 21, 2014. As a creative solution to their two homes and families, they split their time between her home in Littleton, Colorado, and his beloved Worland.

During those Colorado seasons, Alden was warmly welcomed into the family by Kay's daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, Alden enjoyed the extended family, memories and good times he spent with them. Each of them became very special to him. Alden's children are deeply grateful for the love and welcome he found with Kay and her family during those years.

Alden was preceded in death by his parents, Clayton and Dorothy Curtis, and his wife, Janice.

Those who love and miss him now include his wife, Kay; daughter, Shelley (Gerald) Weaver, of Long Beach, Washington; son, Barry (Becky) Curtis of Sandy, Utah; brother, Duane (Bette) Curtis of Worland; brother-in-law, Edward (Juanita) Starkebaum of College Place, Washington; grandson, Paul (Kirsten) Curtis, and great-grandson, Clayton Curtis, of Laurel, Montana; grandson, Alden Weaver, of Long Beach; grandson, Spencer (Brandie) Curtis of Tempe, Arizona; granddaughter, Savannah (Manuel) Weaver-Rodriguez and great-granddaughter, Ophelia Rodriguez, of Corvallis, Oregon; granddaughter, Mariah Weaver, of Long Beach; granddaughter, Hannah Curtis of Kirkland, Washington; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He is also loved and missed by his Colorado family: Kay's daughter, Diane (Skip) Short of Littleton, Colorado; her grandchildren, Danny, Karie, and Kris Eitel of Denver, Colorado and great-granddaughter, Ava.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 PM, Sunday, July 16, 2023 at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 660 S. 17th St, Worland, Wyoming with Pastor Barry Curtis officiating. Visitation for family and friends will be held at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, one hour prior to services. Burial will follow at Riverview Memorial Gardens Cemetery with military honors provided by the United States Army and American Legion Post #44. Memorial donations may be made to Sonshine Academy, the Christian grade school here in Worland, of which Alden was school board chairman for many of the years since it was founded in 1969. They may be sent in care of PO Box 524, Worland, WY 82401. Online condolences may be made at http://www.bryantfuneralhome

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