Willis Leo Curtright, known as Leo by Family and friends, died Tuesday, July 3, 2007, at New Haven Care Center in New Haven, Missouri, at 89 years of age.
Leo was the son of Elwood E. Curtright and Madge Lee Cunningham, born April 19, 1918, in Holliday, Missouri.
Willis Leo Curtright united in marriage with Mary Caroline Klein on March 22, 1940, while he was finishing his undergraduate degree at MU. He served his country by enlisting in the Army Air Corps on May 21, 1943. His brother-in-law, Bob Hurst said that there was no Air Force in those days, so men had to enlist in the Army Air Corps instead. According to a Monroe County newspaper article published on April 16, 1945, Leo was a 2nd Lieutenant, receiving training on Boeing B-29 airplanes. One he left the Army in October 1945, Leo came back to central Missouri to teach in schools in Paris, Missouri, and LaBelle. He also worked as a part-time coach.
His younger sister, Peggy Hurst, said he earned his master’s degree in education at MU in 1949, in hopes of going into administration. Upon earning his degree, he served as superintendent in several mid-Missouri schools, including LaBelle, Madison, Moberly, Lake Ozark and Union.
His older brother, Guy Curtright, played with the Chicago White Sox from 1943 to 1946. Guy held the American League record for playing the most consecutive games with a hit as a rookie.
Leo and his older brother, Guy Curtright, who also worked as a teacher and coach in mid- Missouri, developed a friendly rivalry when their respective sports teams played each other. Leo was a sports fanatic. “He was always a big-time Missouri fan,” Bob Hurst said. “He was always a super fan of them and the St. Louis Cardinals, even in the bad years.” Bob Hurst said, “People who knew Leo would always remember Mr. Curtright. He was a good guy and Leo was well liked by everybody.”
Surviving are his wife of 67 years, Mary; three daughters, Georganna Carter and Barbara Schofield, both of Washington, Missouri, and Linda Schroeder, of Hickory, North Carolina; a sister, Peggy Hurst, of Columbia; seven grandchildren; and ten great grandchildren.
His brother, Guy P. Curtright and a sister, Mary Phillips, died earlier this year.
The Reverend Jim Konrad and the Reverend Devin Jones conducted services on Saturday, in St. Peter’s Church of Christ, in Washington, Missouri. Burial followed in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Washington, Missouri.