January 8, 1933 ~ January 6, 2005
Curtis Ray Zellmer, born January 8, 1933, died Thursday, January 6, 2005. He was 71.
Curtis was the son of Herbert and Lydia Zellmer of Taylor, TX. He was quite the girl-chaser in high school, as well as mischievous, point in fact, the tale he liked to tell of the time he put a chunk of compound he mixed up ( I believe it was potassium) in the wash basin in class and when water hit it, it blew the side of the basin out! He finally admitted to his teacher it was he who had done it … but not until 10 years later at a class reunion … to which she exclaimed, “I knew it was you! I knew it!! I just couldn’t prove it.” That was Curtis, always good for a joke and a laugh.
He attended Taylor High School and in 1951, joined the Air Force where he served as a corporal and received the good conduct medal where he worked as a mechanic on B-29 Bombers. Then in 1953, he met Billie Jean Red… “A real looker” as he liked to put it, where she was working at a soda fountain. He was totally smitten with her, taking snap shots of her from afar, but then finally worked up the courage to ask her out. After a whirlwind romance of only 7 weeks, he won her heart and they were married, settling in Waco, TX to begin a family. They both worked at Rocketdyne for a few years, opposite shifts at first, until such time Billie retired to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. Curtis then hired on with NCR, making a successful career for himself and from which he retired as Branch Manager in 1986. Curtis and Billie then moved to Lake Eufaula, OK, where they shared and enjoyed life with each other for many wonderful years.
Curtis was a devoted husband and father, but he was much more to those who knew him. He was strong, smart, and had the knack for telling a joke better than most. And then there was what was commonly called the CRZ factor … you name it, if it could be fixed, he could do it. Kids in the neighborhood in Waco would come from all around to get him to fix their skateboards, bikes, motorcycles and throughout his life many turned to him for help getting something to work right. It was also said, if it could be made, Curtis and Billie could make it together. They would see something they liked and take measurements, then return home where Billie would draw up the scaled model draft and Curtis would build it to perfection. They were the perfect team, sharing in all aspects of life.
Curtis was a wonderful man who never knew a stranger and who could always make you laugh, a man loved by all who knew him. He opened his home and his heart to anyone willing to step in and he never forgot a good deed bestowed upon him, returning in kind more than three-fold, for if you were Curtis’ friend, you were such for life. He will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing and loving him.
Curtis was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Billie, who passed away November 11, 2004, just shortly before him himself. He is survived by his daughter, Terri Lynn Wolschlager of Garland, TX; daughter, Sharon Reneau of Sherman, TX; daughter, Shiela Rohweder of San Antonio, TX; sister Lanita Teichelman of Valley Mills, TX; sister, Shirley Clark of Gastonia, NC; and brother, Douglas Zellmer of Anaheim, CA. He is also survived by four loving grandchildren, Rebecca, Curtis, Blake and Brooke, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
We know he is up there with his loving wife, Billie, of 51 years … happy, pain-free, and looking down over all those of us still Earth-bound that he loves. He shared all he had, and all he was, and while his presence shall be painfully missed, his memory and laughter shall live on forever in the hearts and minds of all those he touched. We love you, Daddy.