Richard M. Curtis, chief master sergeant

Correction: An earlier version of this obituary incorrectly reported where Chief Master Sgt. Curtis held his final active-duty military assignment. It was at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, not at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Also, his daughter Pamela A. Curtis resides in Cambridge, Mass., not in Oakland, Calif.

July 24, 2013

Richard M. Curtis, who retired from the Air Force in 1970 as a chief master sergeant and became executive officer of the U.S.-Saudi Arabia joint economic commission, died July 16 at a hospital in Melbourne, Fla. He was 86.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said his wife, Molly Tasker.

Chief Master Sgt. Curtis served in the Navy from 1943 to 1952, attaining the rank of petty officer first class. During World War II, he served as a Navy radioman during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Starting in 1952, he spent 18 years in the Air Force and became a specialist in procurement and contracting. His final active-duty assignment was at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

As a civilian in the 1970s, he was a procurement official with the Department of the Air Force. Starting in 1979, he joined the Defense Department, where he helped write federal acquisition regulations, his family said.

He retired in 1987 from the U.S.-Saudi Arabia joint economic commission and subsequently did consulting work for the State Department in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Richard Mark Curtis was a native of Leominster, Mass., and a 1967 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma in 1971 and a master’s degree in counseling from Ball State University in Indiana in 1976.

He moved to Melbourne from Washington in 1998.

His marriages to Rosemary Taylor and Hildegard Gossard ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Molly Tasker of Melbourne; three children from his first marriage, Pamela A. Curtis of Cambridge, Mass., Deborah Erickson of Newark, Del., and Mark A. Curtis of Danville, Calif.; two children from his second marriage, Patricia A. Curtis of Oakton and Richard M. Curtis of Annapolis; a sister; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

— Trishula Patel

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