Obituary: Bruce Curtis

By Staff
Bruce Curtis Dedication

Bruce Curtis, center, helped dedicate the building named for him in 2002. As a student, President Bruce Benson (with wife Marcy, right) was mentored by Curtis. (File photo by Larry Harwood/University of Colorado)



CU-Boulder Geological Sciences professor emeritus Bruce Curtis died Feb. 5, 2012, in Boulder after a short illness. He was 93.

Following baccalaureate work at Oberlin College, he received his master’s degree from the geological sciences department in Boulder. After service in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he enrolled for doctoral studies at Harvard and received his doctorate in 1949. He worked as the Rockies Regional Exploration Manager for Conoco until 1957, when he began three decades of teaching and research at CU.

Curtis profoundly affected the careers and lives of generations of geologists. Through decades of service at CU and in the petroleum industry, he educated, mentored and led hundreds of students and professionals, including CU President Bruce Benson, who cites Curtis as his most influential professor. During that time he taught subsurface methods, geology of organic fuels and related subjects. He was widely recognized for his contributions in editing, having served as associate editor of the Mountain Geologist and GSA Bulletin. Curtis served as chairman of the department from 1960 to 1967.

He retired in 1983 after 26 years of service to the department and the university. His passing represents the loss of an inspiring scholar and an extraordinary individual.