Plane & Pilot
Thursday, September 1, 2005

Remembering Curtis Pitts

Some losses are extremely hard to accept

I had just parked in front of my insurance agent’s office and was cursing myself for forgetting to bring the premium check when it hit me. It was as if someone way down at the end of a long, gloomy tunnel had whispered, “Curtis just died.” I looked down and saw goose bumps on my arms.

The pneumonia that had settled in after his heart-valve surgery last month had sucked the strength and spirit from his 89-year-old body. Two days ago, he had made it clear how he felt about the situation—he pulled the feeding tube from his arm. We all knew what was coming. And this morning, there wasn’t another single thought on my mind but my friend Curtis Pitts. Then the voice made its proclamation, and I turned toward my hangar.

I hadn’t been sitting in the hangar gazing at my airplane for more than 10 minutes when the phone rang suddenly. I knew exactly what it was. Will Teft was on the other end and struggled to tell me that Curtis was gone. Then he broke down, and me along with him. I was crying like a nine-year-old and couldn’t even say goodbye. Teft understood.

I just sat there with no energy or reason to change position when the phone rang again. This time, it was Tom Poberezny. He wanted to make sure that I had heard. He was in total control of himself. I wasn’t and had to hang up again. Poberezny, bless his heart, said the right things, and he, too, understood. We had both lost a good friend.

Curtis had a huge, and I mean huge extended family of friends, and every one of them is feeling what I’m feeling right now. He was, hands-down, the easiest person to like that I’ve ever met and, at the same time, became your friend so quickly that it made you feel warm all over.


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