Don Curtis 1922 – 2017

Don Curtis was one of our oldest readers and, writing here well into his 90s, pehaps our oldest active commenter. I just got word from Al in KY that Don passed away July 30th, at the ripe old age of 94.

Al learned the news from the latest edition of the Budget newspaper. Here’s the information from the paper’s Bellefontaine, OH scribe:

“Bellefontaine, Ohio Aug. 3 — Don, Curtis, the father of Mark Curtis, passed away on Sun. (July 30) at our local hospital. Mark, who is a member in Middle District, requested for the viewing and service be held by our people and so the viewing was held on Tues. evening and funeral on Wed. morning in the shop building at Leon Troyers’. Middle District ministers Ernest Bontrager, Leon Troyer, and Jerald Bontrager spoke as did Don’s pastor from Belle Center. The body was taken to Columbus for burial after a meal after the services.”

I valued what Don shared here over the years, including frequently relating how things worked in the Belle Center, Ohio Amish community, which his son Mark became a member of 15 years ago.

Don served as a link between Mark and Belle Center and this website, and I know a lot of readers have appreciated Don’s and Mark’s contributions as well.

He was a prolific commenter, and over the years left over 400 of them here on the site.

Don, who was a WW II Army veteran and didn’t suffer foolishness lightly, had a blunt and clear style to his writing, which I appreciated in a sometimes over-polite world. And not to mention a sharp sense of humor.

Don frequently responded to reader questions and wrote on topics including prayer caps and bonnets, the Belle Center Ordnung, Thanksgiving and Christmas in Belle Center, why some converts to the Amish don’t make ithow Amish reuse and repurpose everyday itemshow to find an Amish pen pal, a humorous experience involving Mark’s horse and a hot-air balloon (“To a horse it is a great big monster coming out of the sky that likes to eat horses”), games and practical jokes at an Amish youth supper, Mark’s library, Down’s Syndrome children and the Amish, Amish homemade wine, Mark’s washing machine, and many more.

Don was also instrumental in putting together some memorable main page posts with the help of Mark, including our Amish Mystery Supper post, and several Pennsylvania Dutch vocabulary quizzes.

Don was in the rare position of being an English parent to an Amish convert. I think he liked having a forum here to share his thoughts and experiences as well as relay information from Mark. We certainly benefited from it as well.

I had a chance to visit Don on a couple of occasions when I was visiting Mark. Don lived not far from Mark in the little town of Belle Center, along with his three-legged dachsund Fritzi, a spunky canine who he mentioned here from time to time. We went out to eat once at a local restaurant. As far as I know Don still drove into his older years.

Don once shared a touching post about losing his wife to cancer, and how the Belle Center Amish responded. An excerpt describing his wife’s chemo treatments:

Her resistance was so low that we had to wear masks and gowns to visit her. Mark and I were there every day. I would be there during the day and Mark would come in the evening after school. And every week that she was in the hospital there was a van load of Amish came down from Belle Center to visit her. They didn’t even know her. They only knew Mark from his going up to visit the Amish schools and making friends up at Belle Center. When she got out of the hospital after three months there, a van load of Amish men from Belle Center were there for us. They built wheel-chair ramps for our exterior doors. They widened our bathroom door so it was wheelchair accessible. I know these acts of Christian love extended to our family were part of the reason that Mark decided to join the Amish after retiring from teaching.

I hadn’t heard from Don in months; our last correspondence had been over email in January when he helped to set up a second mystery supper post. Don last commented on this site on the book Becoming Amish back in April.

Don will be missed. Our condolences go out to Mark and the rest of his family. Don’s obituary can be found online here.

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    1. RIP

      Rest in peace, Don.

    2. Kathy Rowe

      Sorry to hear of this. I enjoyed Don’s contributions to this website. Condolences to his family.

      1. Blessings counted twice

        I a sure your condolences are appreciated Kathy and Trish. Just a note, the image I shared above is actually from Mark’s home. I realized I didn’t have a photo of Don and the obit didn’t contain one, so I thought that one was fitting. I’ve always found that little cross-stitched(?) message heartwarming.


      Don Curtis

      Our sympathies are extended to Mark on the loss of his father. And thanks, Erik for bringing this to our attention. We have appreciated Don’s input on this forum.

      1. I was surprised when I went back and tallied up how much Don shared here on such a variety of topics. A lot of it was Mark’s info too of course. But really run the gamut which I tried to capture with the sampling of comments I linked above.

    4. Joshua Richards

      I never got to actually meet Don, unfortunately. He passed shortly after I moved to Belle Center. I now live just minutes away from Mark, and this time I’m no longer Beachy Amish. I still have a strong love for all the Amish, and having visited Mark several times, not to mention bumping into many non-Amish locals who would have heard of him, there is no question the impact that both Don and Mark have been to this community, and the community at large. It was Don’s posts here on this website that played a part in encouraging my wife and I to move to Belle Center. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

      1. Very nice to hear that Joshua. I always thought Mark and by extension Don have been very open, frank and also helpful in providing info to potential converts and those interested in learning more about Amish life. Glad to hear they impacted you and I hope your journey is going well.

    5. Al in Ky

      Thanks for this nice memorial tribute to Don Curtis, Erik. Thanks especially for the links to some of his comments. I think I read most, if not all, of his comments through the years, and was interested in re-reading some of them. I appreciated his comments and the interesting perspective he brought to Amish America. And thanks to Mark for sharing on Amish America through Don. I extend my sincere sympathy to Mark and the rest of the family. Blessed be the memory of Don Curtis!

    6. Kevin Lindsey

      So sorry to hear of Don’s passing. I always enjoyed reading his post. My condolences to Mark and the rest of his family

    7. City Slicker

      Don Curtis

      May God Bless Don, his family, and his many friends.
      May Don Rest In Peace.
      May his family and friends be comforted.

    8. Alice Mary

      RIP, Don

      I always made a point to read Don’s postings, and found I learned quite a bit from him about the Amish–and not only via his posts about Mark, his Amish son. He had a unique perspective, and I wish I could have met him in person. I miss his posts already. God rest his soul and my sympathies to Mark, his family and his many, many friends.

      Alice Mary

    9. KimH


      Aww…It feels like one of our own family members have passed on.. in a way Don was a family member..An Amish America family member.

      He’ll be so very missed by so many of us. I always enjoyed his comments and his style..

      My deepest condolences to Mark, his family, and his friends.

      Godspeed Don!!

    10. Alice M Aber

      I am so sorry :-(

      Although I have not commented in some time I have kept up with the site as much as possible. I am so terribly sorry to hear of Don’s passing. I enjoyed reading his comments, posts and stories. My heart and prayers go out to Mark, family and close friends. Don’s presence will be greatly missed.

      Blessings, Alice

    11. Kentuckylady717

      Sorry to hear about Don

      I also enjoyed his messages about his son Mark and the Amish….. I also don’t get on here every day and have been having internet issue but up and running now…. nice to hear from you Erik, I just wondered if you were still writing about the Amish..

      I also have fallen behind on Kevin’s blog also… email was such a big mess, and they deleted everything….surprised I even got this from you….I think that is why I haven’t heard from Kevin too….my emails were not coming to me, so maybe he was getting them back …..I don’t know….will have to check it out and email him…

      Take care, and lets do questions from everyone and you answer them….that was always enjoyable…..

      Have a great week-end

      1. Kentuckylady717

        Adding to my message,,,,

        We still could use a EDIT button on here 🙂 been trying to get one forever it seems LOL Is this a big deal to put an edit button on here, I always reread my msg. before I send and even after I send, and I seem to never catch the mistake until it sends and too late to correct it….should be a s at the end of issue…..I hate when I misspell a word….

        I had another question for you, but now has slipped my mind….getting older is no fun LOL, I’ll probably think of it the minute I send this…..

    12. Loretta Shumpert

      Don Curtis

      I feel melancholy to read of Don’s passing. I always enjoyed his posts and the fact that he wanted to contribute and took the time. Felt like a beloved family member, and like someone said, miss him already. We were immensely blessed by his presence.
      Thank you, Erik, for all that you do.

    13. Judith


      For those of us left here who knew and loved Don – my greatest sympathies and my deepest hope that God will comfort you until you are all reunited again in the Love of Christ.

      I also celebrate his long, fruitful, generous life. May he take joy in the presence and wisdom of God Almighty. Don fought the good fight – and ran the race….

      “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

      — 2 Timothy 4 versus 6 through 9

      Just for you, Don – you have run the race, and won. God has blessed you with a wonderful family and son -Congratulations on a first place finish in the most important race there is, Faith and Life. Your prize was hard earned and well run. God bless his family and Community with Love, Grace and great consolation.

    14. Judith

      By the way, Eric. When is the funeral and where can I send flowers or a gift of love for the Family through the Church? I will understand if it is impossible to print the address here, but perhaps there is a way to send something. Thanks for letting us know about this.

      1. Sorry Judith, for some reason your comment landed in mediation so it appeared here late. In any case, the funeral had apparently already occurred by the time I was able to write this post. But here is information from the obituary linked above on where flowers/gifts can be sent:

        Memorial contribution may be made to Belle Center United Methodist Church, 202 Walnut Street, Belle Center, Ohio 43310.

    15. Debbie H

      I too will miss Don on this forum. I had recently been wondering why he had not posted lately. I haven’t been much for posting lately either so I just assumed he was busy. I pray peace and comfort for Mark and the family.

    16. Rest in Peace, Mr D. Curtis

      Erik, thank you for alerting us to this loss of the Amish America online family. Don was one of my many favorite people to read.

      So sorry for his loss. My regards and much respect to Mark Curtis and extended family at his passing.

      Mark, I hope you are still contributing here when you can. You are on my “favorites” list too. 🙂
      God bless you!

    17. OldKat

      Rest in Peace Don Curtis

      Just catching up on my Amish America reading after being more than a little “under the weather” for the past couple of weeks. I felt like a little bit of me died when I read the heading for this thread and am truly, truly saddened to read of the passing of our AA friend Don Curtis.

      I actually had to stop and wipe a tear from my eye just now, just thinking about it. I, too, never met Don … but would have really enjoyed doing so.

      My thoughts and prayers are with Mark at this time.

      Stephen Rogers
      aka OldKat

      1. I share the sentiments, Oldkat. And hope you are fully back up “over the weather” by now.

    18. Christine

      Don Curtis 1922-2017

      He will be missed by so many. His insights were always appreciated. Prayers of peace for his family.

    19. James

      Rest in Peace

      I have been reading this website for years and I really enjoyed reading his posts. He seemed to be a very nice man and had insight into the Amish community that few non Amish would have. I will really miss reading his posts. My condolences to his son. Rest in peace Don.