layton Mayor Steve Curtis dies unexpectedly

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:38 PM

Mitch Shaw, Standard-Examiner Staff

LAYTON — With a little more than a month left in his final term as mayor of Layton, Steve Curtis died in sleep Thanksgiving night, leaving the Davis County community in a state of shock.

Layton Councilman Jory Francis will serve as acting mayor of the city until Bob Stevenson, who was elected mayor earlier this month, takes over on Jan. 1.

“Right now, we’re pretty much all in shock,” said Francis, who is also serving as a spokesman for the Curtis family. “He was a great man, though. He taught us all how to lead. He loved the community and the community loved him.”

As of Friday, Francis said there had not been any plans set for a funeral for Curtis.

“Everything is still so new — we’re all still trying to process the whole thing,” he said. “The family is still trying to work out some of the (funeral) details.”

Layton Councilman Mike Bouwhuis said he first heard the news early Friday morning when he got a call from fellow council member Joyce Brown.

“I got the call at about 6:45 this morning,” Bouwhuis said. “He died in his sleep sometime last night. He had Thanksgiving dinner with his family and went to bed and just never woke up. We’re still in shock.”

Curtis, 58, was just finishing his second term as mayor of Layton. He opted not to seek re-election after having served two consecutive four-year terms.

Curtis’ successor, Stevenson, was in Atlanta for Thanksgiving and said he was also stunned when he heard Curtis had died.

“I got a text this morning and I just couldn’t believe it — we were supposed to be going out for dinner on Monday,” he said. “I’m just very, very sad — heartbroken, in fact. He was a wonderful person. You couldn’t ask for a better guy than Steve Curtis.”

Before his eight years as mayor, Curtis also served 10 years on the Layton City Council.

“He’s kind of been one of those guys who’s just always been there,” said former Layton Mayor Jerry Stevenson. “When you think of Layton, Steve is one of the people that immediately comes to mind. He will be sorely missed in this community.”

Curtis was a member of the Utah Defense Alliance and the Utah Transit Authority’s Board of Trustees. He was currently serving as president and a board member of the Utah League of Cities and Towns and occupied seats on the executive board of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District boards of directors.

Curtis also wrote a weekly business column for the Standard-Examiner.

“When I think back on Steve, he was such a tireless worker,” Bouwhuis said. “He was always there for the fire department, the police department. He was a huge supporter of Hill Air Force Base. He loved to work for the city.”

Layton Fire Chief Kevin Ward said Curtis was one of the first faces he saw when he was hired at the fire department 10 years ago.

“I remember when I first got the job here in Layton, Steve was literally one of the first guys I talked to,” Ward said. “He was on the council then, but as long as I’ve known him, whether he was on the council or mayor, he’s always been the same guy. He was kind and genuine and just a great friend. It’s a horrible loss.”

Curtis was raised in Ogden and attended Weber State and Brigham Young universities before beginning a 29-year career in communications, according to his biography on the Layton city website.

Curtis filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after he was laid off from a banking manager position he held at the First National Bank in Layton.

“I’ve thought a lot about Steve today,” said Layton City Manager Alex Jensen. “With Steve, what you saw was what you got. There was nothing pretentious or made up about him. He was always the same, in good times and in bad.”

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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