Charles A. Curtze
April 8, 1911 - December 26, 2007 (aged 96)
Place of birth: Erie, Pennsylvania, United States United States
Place of death: Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania, United States United States
Allegiance: United States of America
Service/branch: United States Navy
Years of service: 1933-1965
Rank: Rear Admiral
Commands held: San Francisco Naval Shipyard
Battles/wars: World War II
* Attack on Pearl Harbor
Rear Admiral Charles A. Curtze salvaged a major ship in Pearl Harbor...
Rear Admiral Charles A. Curtze, who died at 96, had a hand in some major events in American history. He played a key role in salvaging a major ship during the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. That achievement is highlighted in a tribute to Curtze at the Admiral Charles A. Curtze Maritime Hall at Erie History Museum. Curtze was working as a fleet safety officer on the light cruiser USS St. Louis when the attack began. He helped guide the cruiser out of the harbor. It was the only major ship to escape that day, and it became the stalwart as the Pacific Fleet was reconstructed after the bombing.
Charles A. Curtze (April 8, 1911 - December 26, 2007) was a rear admiral in the United States Navy. He was born in Erie, Pennsylvania and died at age 96 in Millcreek Township, Pennsylvania. He served as Deputy Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Ships during the Vietnam War. He is buried at the Erie Cemetery.
Curtze participated in a Rotary Club student exchange to Scandinavia, which led to his appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Curtze was a star gymnast while attending the Naval Academy, winning second place in 1931 in the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League and leading the midshipmen to the league's championship in 1933. When he qualified for the US gymnastics team attending the 1936 Summer Olympics, his position with the US Navy caused the State Department to prohibit his travel to Berlin, Germany during Adolf Hitler's rule. Curtze graduated from the Naval Academy in 1933. He received his Master's degree in Naval Construction from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Curtze was serving as a fleet safety officer aboard the cruiser USS St. Louis at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He helped guide the ship safely out of harbor, making it one of the few major ships to escape the Japanese bombings. He served with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as the engineering member of the first US team in London. He also served as commander of the San Francisco Naval Shipyard Curtze and his commanding officer, Rear Admiral William A. Brockett, Chief of the Bureau of Ships, resigned their posts in 1965 to protest Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara's centralization of the Pentagon.
Rear Admiral Charles A. Curtze (Retired) -- He Was Much Loved and Respected
FROM: The Erie Times-News ~
Rear Admiral Charles A. Curtze Retired age 96, of West 38th Street, Millcreek, died Wednesday December 26, 2007 at his residence.
He was born April 8, 1911 in Erie at Hamot Hospital a son of late Edwin H. and Henrietta Kraus Curtze and he was grandson of Charles A. Curtze, founder of C.A. Curtze Company, Erie, Pa. Residing at 135 East 7th St., he attended Jones Elementary School, Gridley Junior High, and graduated from Central High School 1928.
Being an exchange Rotary Club son in Scandinavia led to an appointment to the United States Naval Academy class of 1933, and graduate study at MIT, earning a masters degree in Naval construction.
A highly successful gymnastic career qualified him for the 1936 Olympics in Munich, Germany, but growing security concerns over Hitler caused the state department to prevented his participation.
He was on duty at Pearl Harbor during the attack, and served in the Pacific. His naval career continued as he married Louise Vicary, and his sons were born. He served as the engineering member of the first NATO group in London. Eventually becoming commander of the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, he became a Rear Admiral.
Throught his life he shared with his wife and sons his love for literature, music, choral singing, skiing, sailing, fine craftsmanship, and animals. Despite his military career, he shared with Louise their dislike of war, never talking of it in his son's presence, nor allowing them even to watch western movies or have a toy guns. He and wife simply loved ships and the sea.
At the pinnacle of his naval career, serving as Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C., growing frustration over the political abuses during the Vietnam years, led to his retirement in protest with the Chief of the Bureau. Though jaded by the repression of his attempt to publicize these abuses, he and Louise designed and built the yacht 'uncle' of which they long had dreamed, and enjoyed many years of sailing. But concern for the direction of the nation, and the world, lingered. Several years ago he found a book in his library written by his grandfather Kern regarding the Revelation Prophecy. Seeing that prophecy had been important to his forefather, he joined in studying the Book of Daniel. Voicing amazement that his Navy career had visibly contributed to foretold world events, he returned to the task seriously to the Book of Revelations.
Sensing his impending physical decline, he was hearted by a confidence in the resurrection hope, that God's will is going to 'be done on earth, as in heaven', and that God 'will bring to ruin those ruining the earth', and that he will see his loved ones again.
After a care giving life of almost 97 years, his flesh finally gave out and he passed away in sleep, he had , as he like to say, 'struck a blow for freedom'.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his wife of 62 years Louise.
He is survived by two sons: Arthur J. Curtze and his wife Jennifer Loveland Curtze of State College, and Edwin Johannes Curtze and his wife Patricia of Erie; four grandchildren: Joshua D. Curtze and his wife Jennifer; Jessica L. Curtze, Rachel E. Crutze all of Erie; Alexander Charles Curtze of State College; nephew Charles Curtze Vicary and his wife Willow of Scottsdale, Ariz. and Thomas Cornish Vicary and his wife Cheryl of Erie; a niece Carolyn Vicary Emerson of Mineral, Va.; and numerous descendants, the Kern family and step grandchildren, and step great grandchildren.
Friends may call at the Burton Westlake Funeral Home 3801 West 26th St. at Powell Ave. on Friday from 2 to 4 and 6:30 until the time of service at 8:30pm conducted by Daniel Baneck. Interment on Saturday at Erie Cemetery at the convenience of the family.
Memorials may be made to Community County Day School, The Erie Humane Society, The Erie Philharmonic, Safe Net, The Watchtower Society, Friends School of State College, or the VNA Hospice, Erie.