Harry Ray Curtis, 81, formerly of Browns

Harry Ray Curtis, 81, Pana, passed away Thursday, Feb. 27. He was born Aug. 24, 1938 in Browns, Ill. to George and Beatrice (Ginther) Curtis. A graduate of Edwards County High School, Harry played basketball for Southern Illinois University for a year before transferring to Eastern Illinois University where he met his future wife, Janice Kay Bookhout and earned his bachelor's degree in education. He and Jan married on June 16, 1963 and later went back to EIU to earn their master's degrees together. Harry coached track in Crossville and basketball and track in Clay City before moving to Pana where he taught and served as a guidance counselor and teacher at Pana High School for 26 years. He also coached junior high and freshman/sophomore basketball for many years, including many of the members of the 1988 State Championship team. He was a lifelong Illini and Cardinals fan and remained passionate about high school basketball. He was a long-time member of the Pana Lions Club and the Illinois Teachers Education Association. Harry was an active member of Pana Christian Church where, over the last half century, he served at various times as a youth leader, deacon, Sunday school teacher, and elder. He was a student of history and enjoyed traveling the country with his family to visit historic sites and natural wonders, but his favorite place to visit was the Rocky Mountains. He took good care of his family and was very proud of his six grandchildren and enjoyed watching them play multiple sports and hearing about their activities.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 57 years, Jan; children, Susan (Tim) McGrath of Pana, Jeff (Lisa) Curtis of Firestone, Colo. and John (Katie Pape) Curtis of Chicago; grandchildren, Lincoln and Sawyer McGrath, Zack Tribbett, Connor and Grant Curtis and Cosette Curtis-Pape; sisters Betty Brewer of Mt. Carmel and Mary (Cliff) Harris of Monahans, Texas; and nine nieces and nephews; and many great- nieces and nephews. He was preceded by brother Bob Curtis, sister-in-law Mamie Curtis, brother-in-law Fred Brewer and nephew Tom White.

Funeral services for Harry will be held on Wednesday, March 4 at 10 a.m. in the Pana Christian Church with Pastor Dave Altman officiating. A graveside service will follow at 2:30 p.m. in Harvey’s Point Cemetery, Salem, Ill. Visitation will be Tuesday, March 3 from 5-7:30 p.m. in the church.

He was able to help others through his donation to Gift of Hope. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Pana Youth Basketball or Pana Christian Church and will be accepted by McCracken-Dean Funeral Home who is assisting the family, www.mdfh.com.