Heartwarming turnout at funeral services for Layton mayor

Dec 5 2013 - 7:19am

Images

American flags and Steve Curtis election signs lined the road and parking lot during the funeral of Layton Mayor Steve Curtis in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Layton Mayor Steve Curtis' widow RaeLynn Curtis releases a balloon in memory of her late husband during his funeral in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Funeral programs and memory cards were available during the funeral of Layton Mayor Steve Curtis in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Colonel Kathryn Kolbe, teared up during the funeral of Layton Mayor Steve Curtis in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Late Layton Mayor Steve Curtis' son, Riley Curtis, spoke during his funeral in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Late Layton Mayor Steve Curtis was laid to rest in Lindquist Cemetery in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Hill Air Force Base Colonel Kathryn Kolbe hugged late Layton Mayor Steve Curtis' widow, RaeLynn Curtis, after the Mayor's funeral in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
American flags and Steve Curtis election signs lined the road and parking lot during the funeral of Layton Mayor Steve Curtis in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Layton Mayor Steve Curtis' widow RaeLynn Curtis releases a balloon in memory of her late husband during his funeral in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Funeral programs and memory cards were available during the funeral of Layton Mayor Steve Curtis in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Colonel Kathryn Kolbe, teared up during the funeral of Layton Mayor Steve Curtis in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Late Layton Mayor Steve Curtis' son, Riley Curtis, spoke during his funeral in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Late Layton Mayor Steve Curtis was laid to rest in Lindquist Cemetery in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)
Hill Air Force Base Colonel Kathryn Kolbe hugged late Layton Mayor Steve Curtis' widow, RaeLynn Curtis, after the Mayor's funeral in Layton on Wednesday, December 4, 2013. Mayor Curtis passed away in his sleep on Thanksgiving night. Friends, family, police, fire fighters and Layton locals attended the funeral. (BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner)

LAYTON -- Of all of the titles late Layton Mayor Steve Curtis collected in his 58 years of living, "Papa" may have been his greatest achievement.

"Papa" was a friendly, family nickname bestowed on Curtis by his five children, according to his oldest daughter Stephanie Nelson.

"Of all the titles my dad had, is that he was the most proud of being called. 'Papa,'" Nelson said.

Curtis, hailed as an ordinary man, with extraordinary mayoral skills, was laid to rest Wednesday afternoon at Lindquist's Memorial Park in Layton following a two-hour funeral service at the Davis Conference Center and a lengthy vehicle procession to the cemetery.

The procession route -- in addition to being lined with American flags -- included a host of students from Lincoln Elementary School who braved freezing temperatures to pay their final respects to the Curtis family by waving smaller American flags.

Curtis died Thanksgiving night in his sleep.

About 750 people attended the funeral service where family, friends and work and church associates spoke of Curtis's love for Layton city, the country, the gospel of Jesus Christ and family, with all of Curtis' children offering their own personal tribute.

"He always worried about whether he was making a difference," Nelson said of her father, who served 18 years as an elected official, nearly eight of those as Layton mayor.

Nelson said she can recall her father always telling her to dream big, because one never knows when dreams are going to come true.

"He was my biggest fan," she said.

"Love you, man," Riley Curtis said, was a phrase that often flowed from his father's lips.

And when his father would pray, Riley Curtis said, he would often pray for trials, claiming trials made him stronger. Riley Curtis also said his father was no politician, because despite him objecting to some of his father's stands, knowing they would not be politically-wise, his father would always take the position of doing what was right.

"Dad always wrote my church talks for me to get me to go," said Austin Curtis, drawing laughter from the crowd.

And, Karson Wood, a nephew whom Curtis raised as a son, spoke of how Curtis always encouraged keeping one's integrity.

But Curtis, who loved football and bubble gum -- based on his personal belongings displayed in the conference center lobby -- wasn't a fan of all things.

"He didn't love shopping," Katie Rae Curtis said of her father. Her mother RaeLynn loved shopping, while her father would find a bench and wait for them to finish. But she also remembered that day when her father did go shopping with her, spending the day at the mall with her to find that special dress that would make her feel special, Katie Rae Curtis said.

"Thank you for loving him," Katie Rae Curtis told those in attendance.

When Curtis wasn't with his family, at times rubbing elbows with dignitaries and military airmen whom he respected, he often wore flamboyant suits only he could pull off.

"(Curtis) understood the need for leaders to set aside their personal feelings for the good of the community," said Col. Kathryn Kolbe, with the 75th Air Base Wing Command at Hill Air Force Base.

Kolbe was one of the featured speakers at Wednesday's funeral service.

To the base, and the airmen stationed there, Curtis was a true friend, Kolbe said. "The type of person you can always count on," she said.

Layton City Manager Alex Jensen, who worked alongside Curtis for the past 18 years, also offered remarks, saying Curtis was an "ordinary man," adding, "a man of the people."

"He was a lifter and a builder. He was never a critic," Jensen said.

Jensen also said the mayor's passing was no accident, he has been called home to provide service in a "different sphere."

"Curtis was an average politician, but he was a tremendous mayor," said Jensen. "He truly did dream big."

"There is a light out in Layton, and it will never be relit," said Dave Thomas, Layton's recreation superintendent and a friend to Curtis.

Contact reporter Bryon Saxton at 801-625-4244 or bsaxton@standard.net, or follow him on Twitter at @BryonSaxton.

 

From Around the Web

  +