Curtis ‘led by example’

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A memorial service will take place Wednesday at Lakeland High School for the school’s Air Force JROTC instructor, who died last week after a battle with cancer.

Selwyn George Curtis, 64, passed away Thursday. He was a U.S. Air Force veteran and graduate of Embry-Riddle and Longwood University.



“Master Sergeant Selwyn Curtis was a pillar of our school and a perfect example of leading by example,” Lakeland High School Principal Douglas Wagoner said Monday. “What comes to mind when thinking of Sgt. Curtis is that he would always comment that he was blessed. His faith ran deep and was evident in every facet of his life.

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“He was loved and respected by students and colleagues,” Wagoner continued. “His presence, wisdom, dedication, passion and compassion will be sorely missed by the Lakeland High School family.”

Curtis’ wife, Laurie Curtis, said her husband had a profound influence on his students’ lives.

“One of the boys said, ‘He even influenced me as far as getting closer to God,’” Curtis said. The student is going on a missions trip next month in part due to Curtis’ influence, she said.

“Lakeland will never be the same without Msgt. Curtis,” one of his students wrote. “He always made sure everyone was having a good day; not just his cadets (but also) any student he (saw) walking past him.”

In addition to his work at the school, Curtis was a member of Southside Vineyard Church, served as chaplain of the Hampton Roads Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club, of which he was one of the founders, and was the proprietor of Curtis Horsemanship.

“He was just well thought of in all the groups he was in,” Laurie Curtis said. “He had a special influence on people.”

Curtis said Curtis Horsemanship focused on teaching people how to develop a bond with their horse.

“He loved working with the horses and seeing the people learn how to gain a relationship with the horse and build a bond and trust with them,” she said. “Our goal was teaching them how to teach the horse, instead of us teaching the horse.”

His horse, Pretty Boy, will be in attendance at Wednesday’s service at Lakeland High School, which begins at 1 p.m. He will be buried at Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery with military honors.

The family has suggested memorial contributions in his memory to the Hampton Roads Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club at 9234 W. Blackwater Road, Windsor, VA 23487.