Thomas Edwin Curtis of Chapel Hill passed peacefully on July 7, 2014, in the Hock Family Pavilion at Duke Hospice.
Born to Harry Wesley Curtis and Etta Adelaide Taylor Curtis in Miami, Oklahoma, Tom attended pilot training for the Navy in the final days of World War II. After returning home, he pursued a career in psychiatric medicine at Oklahoma University and Duke School of Medicine. In 1952, he was recruited as one of the first residents at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He later became chairman of UNC’s Psychiatry Department, and served on staff at N.C. Memorial Hospital until 2006.
He and his wife, Marilou Curtis, were members of the founding congregation of the Church of Reconciliation. The Church was established in 1966 with the mission and ideal of promoting “intentional community of racial reconciliation.” Tom served as a Church Elder, and was a member of the Church’s Session.
He is survived by his sister, Catherine Davis; his children, Susan Jane Curtis and Theresa Curtis; his five grandchildren, Brown Biggers and his wife, Brooke Spangler, Carmen Biggers, Jennifer Curtis, JT Sauls and James Sauls; niece Mary Jane Davis; nephews Daniel Davis and Curtis David Keller; and godson Marcus Murrell. He was predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Marilou Curtis; their son, Freddie Curtis; and their daughter, Liz Curtis Holm.
Long-time caregivers who worked closely with Tom and his family are Cyrise Davis, Rahab Kaguru, Nancy Kanyua, Raphael Kirumba, Gidraf Miring’u, Deborah Shantzek, Grace Wanjihia, and Garey Waters.
Memorial Celebration Sunday, July 13 at the outside Dell at the Church of Reconciliation, 110 North Elliott Road, Chapel Hill at 1:00.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to: The Church of Reconciliation, Collie Rescue of the Carolinas, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Condolences can be left at