Opinion & Editorial

A long, strange trip comes to an end

I was deeply saddened when I received the obituary of Curt Deatherage in my email box Friday night.
For years Curt had generously shared his writing and photography with the readers of The Creswell Chronicle under the title of “It Happened in Oregon.” These articles were well read and often talked about in coffee shops and businesses around town.
Curt was a soft-spoken gentle soul, and I got to know him even more when he worked on my 1970 International Scout at his business of 30 years, Curt Deatherage Auto Electric. I could tell that he really enjoyed life and the career path that he had chosen.
A couple years ago I noticed that my Scout’s amp meter was bouncing left to right, uncontrollably. I took my vehicle to see if Curt could diagnose the problem. Upon returning later in the day to pick up my vehicle, Curt met me outside his shop and said he had something to show me. He lifted the hood of the vehicle and showed me that I had left the transmission dipstick lying on top of the battery, causing electrical sparking to occur. I was embarrassed to say the least, but Curt just chuckled and said at least you didn’t meltdown your vehicle.
I became aware of Curt’s battle with cancer when he had a friend stop by The Chronicle to put a notice in the paper saying he was closing his business and asking customers to come and pick up any personal items. I was shocked to learn that he was ill and I went out to the truck he was sitting in to talk with him. He assured me that he was going to fight and beat this disease. I had to choke back the tears as I commended his bravery.
Months later Curt came into The Chronicle office after treatment saying that he wanted to start writing again. I welcomed proposal with open arms. He had been a contributor to The Chronicle since Gerri O’Rouke Maggard owned The Chronicle in in 2000 and encouraged Curt begin writing articles for the newspaper. He had contributed a hand full of articles of the past year or so all on this terms and timeline.
Every now and then I would run into Curt at the post office or at Dari-Mart, and he always was upbeat and living life to its fullest. He always had a smile on his face and he loved talking about his grandson, who I could tell he loved and cherished tremendously.
I hadn’t seen or heard from Curt for some time, until I received his obituary last Friday. My heart sunk. I went and told my wife, Jeanne, and we both sat in silence, choking back the tears, remembering this wonderful human being who loved sharing stories he had researched and sought out so that we could all learn a thing or two about history and our state of Oregon.
I’m thankful to have known Curt, if only for a short time in my life. He exemplified life and I will miss him a lot, as will others who lives he touched.
This week we are running an article that Curt wrote a year ago this month called “A long, strange trip,” which talks about his battle with cancer and the road he took to try and beat the disease.
Thanks for including us on your journey, Curt. Till our paths meet again!



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos