The defining characteristic of Dorsey Curtis’ 88 years was his love for the people of Clark County.
Daughter Vicki Hogan said he was committed to improving his home county, and doing whatever he could for his fellow citizens.
“He lived for the people of Clark County. That’s about what you can sum it up as — to serve them — and they would call him any time of day or night,” Hogan said.
Curtis died Thursday at Clark Regional Medical Center, but he leaves behind a lengthy list of accomplishments, from helping found Clark County Community Services to serving as the last Clark County Judge before the county switched to the judge-executive format.
According to his obituary, Curtis, a World War II veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star, also was named Outstanding Sheriff in 1964 and was a Kentucky Colonel. He served on the Winchester Board of Commissioners, as a deputy jailer and on the Clark Regional Medical Center Board of Directors.
Curtis also was instrumental in establishing the Clark County Rescue Unit, and, as head of county government, the development of Fort Boonesborough State Park.
Curtis’ sister, longtime Winchester Sun Society Editor Betty Ratliff Smith, said her brother was involved in so many areas of community development because “he cared.”
“He was very dedicated to whatever he did,” Smith said. “He always gave everything to anything he was involved in.”
Hogan echoed Smith’s sentiments.
“There was a whole lot of stuff that I¿think wouldn’t have gotten done if he hadn’t been as caring, and wanting the community to grow,” Hogan said.
“He was not a politician, he was a public servant,” Smith said. “When his country called, he went and he served. After combat throughout Europe, he came home on a 30-day leave. Then he shipped out to the Pacific.”
Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner became acquainted with Curtis through his tenure on the City Commission, and commended him for his desire to give back to the community.
“He was just so consistent and dedicated to public service. He would do anything he could to help the citizens of Clark County,” Burnter said.
He attributed many of Curtis’ achievements to the discipline he learned in the military.
“It was just his nature to serve and give back to the community. He just wanted to do what he could do to continue that service when he returned from World War II,”¿Burtner said.
In addition to his commitment to public service, Curtis also was a devoted father and husband, Hogan said. He was married for nearly 60 years to high school sweetheart, Allie Potts Curtis, whom he met at a carnival in downtown Winchester. Allie Curtis died Jan. 13, 2002.
“After she passed away, the one thing he wanted was to be with her,” Hogan said.
His family always remained his first priority, even when community needs demanded his time.
“He would go out in a snowstorm, deliver food, deliver coal. He would make sure we were safe at home, then take off,” Hogan said.
When Hogan would take him to run errands, every stop always led to a story of some kind.
“I’ll miss everything about him. I’ll miss the stories of everything he had done. ... I’ll just miss being with him. He was a good man,”¿Hogan said.