William Francis Curtis, Jr, (Bill) went to join the Lord on June 28 at the age of 82. Bill is survived by his wife Paula Parten Curtis, daughter Merry Beth Curtis Evans, son William Francis Curtis, III (Trey), sister Bette Curtis Gentry, and grandchildren Jace Evans, Gibson Curtis and Morgan Curtis. He was preceded in death by his parents William Francis Curtis, Sr (Bo) and Mary Cranor Curtis.
Bill was born on June 8, 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee and lived his life in Marianna, Arkansas. He graduated from T.A. Futrell High School in 1959 where he was a three-sport letterman, earning All-District honors in both football and basketball. He went on to play football and run track at Arkansas Tech University for the next four years. Known to his teammates as “Sleepy,” he truly made his mark as a Wonder Boy. Despite his 5’9” 150# frame, he was a three-time All-Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) honoree, two-time single-season AIC rushing leader, named to the 1960s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s All-Decade Team, and ranked seventh on Arkansas Tech’s career rushing list and ninth on the single-season rushing list. In 2012, he was awarded the Distinction in Intercollegiate Athletics by Arkansas Tech University and in 2022 inducted into their inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame. The pinnacle of his athletic career arrived in 2011 when he was inducted into the state of Arkansas’s Sports Hall of Fame.
After college, Bill served two years in the United States Army. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina as a First Lt. with the 82nd Airborne and led special operations in the Dominican Republic. During this time, he also played on the Fort Bragg football team. Bill moved back to Marianna after his time in the service and took up the game of golf. A member of the Marianna Country Club, he went on to enjoy competing in countless golf tournaments throughout the state of Arkansas and was the MCC Club Champion many times.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Bill began farming in his mid-20s. He began with a small amount of acreage, and in his typical fashion, utilized his hard work and determination to accomplish great things. Most important in Bill’s life was his relationship with and service to Christ with his primary goal being that of sharing the Good News with all who crossed his path. He was a long-time member, deacon and sat on various committees in the Marianna First Baptist Church. Bill touched so many lives…spreading love, kindness and generosity everywhere he went. His devotion to family, friends, church and community will be greatly missed. The funeral service will be held on Friday, June 30 at 9:00 am at the Marianna First Baptist Church, followed by a Celebration of Life in the church Family Life Center. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Marianna First Baptist Church or towards the prevention and cure of Alzheimer’s disease. www.alz.org Visit online registry at stevensfuneralhome.net.
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Link to obituary.