Curtis Ross Means passed away peacefully on February 16, 2023, at the age of 91. Curtis leaves a legacy of three children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, with two more great-grandchildren on the way.
Curtis was born on October 9, 1931, in Topeka, Kansas to Harry and Olive (Weeks) Means. He was the youngest of three children. The family relocated every two years, following his father’s work as a depot agent for the Union Pacific Railroad. If it was up to them, Curtis and his siblings Harry and Marjorie would have chosen Asherville, Kansas as a home base. The children ran wild through unpaved streets until they heard their mother’s police whistle (two long blows, then one short).
Curtis joined the Air Force in 1951. During the Korean War, he served as a high-speed Morse Code Intercept Operator with the 1st Communications Squadron at Nagasaki Air Force Base. After the war, he transferred to the 450th Communications Squadron at Foster Air Force Base in Texas. He enlisted in the Air Force Reserves in 1955. Curtis was awarded the Korean Service Medal, U.N. Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal before being honorably discharged in 1962. He went on to work as a Supervisory Auditor with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General for over twenty years.
While in the reserves, Curtis attended Kansas State Teachers’ College (now Emporia State University). He graduated in 1961 with a degree in Business Management. It was there Curtis met the love of his life, Rose Mary Harms (Rosie). He picked her up for their first date in a Ford Model A Tudor Sedan that he fixed up. They married in 1960 and went on to have three children.
Curtis loved cars, and the Model A was only the beginning. He also owned a 49’ Mercury with suicide doors, a Studebaker Golden Hawk, a 69’ AMX, and a legendary 70’ Ford Falcon that he drove for over 365,000 miles.
Even more than cars, Curtis loved Rosie. He stood by her side as she battled serious, life-long health issues, and faithfully worked towards her well-being throughout their 53-year marriage.
Curtis was well known in his family for creatively turning a phrase. If you asked him how he was doing, he’d probably answer something like, “Just trying to keep body and soul together.” Although he is greatly missed, his family is comforted in knowing that his soul has found a permanent dwelling in heaven alongside Rosie.
Curtis was predeceased by his wife Rose Mary (Harms) Means; his parents, Harry and Olive (Weeks) Means; and his brother Harry Means. He is survived by his sister Marjorie (Means) Boston; son Steve Means and wife Genesis; daughter Karen (Means) Abernathy and husband Fred; son Bill Means and wife Kim; grandchildren: Ryan, Rachel, Kristina, Phillip, Dillon, Amanda, Abraham, and Mary; and great-grandchildren: Henry, Ryker, Bodhi, and Ender. He just missed meeting two great-grandchildren in the making.
The family is so very grateful for the excellent care Curtis received at Rosemark Senior Living. Thanks especially to each caregiver with Rosemark and Bristol Hospice that cared for Curtis with love and kindness in his final days.
Visitations will be held 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM on March 3rd at the Petersen Family Funeral Home in Newton, Kansas. Graveside funeral services and burial begin at 2:00 PM on March 3rd at Grace Hill Mennonite Church & Cemetery in Whitewater, Kansas, reception to follow. Family and friends are all welcome. Given the significant impact Curtis’s military service had on his life, in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project here.