Skip to content

Robert Lee Curtis, 79 – Passed March 17, 2021

Robert Lee Curtis, 79, of Willow Springs, Missouri, passed away peacefully on March 17, 2021 surrounded by his family.

Robert “Bob” was born February 17, 1942 in Ava, Missouri. He was the son of Edgar and Maxine Curtis. He graduated from Willow Springs High School in 1960 and continued his education at the University of Missouri, where he was involved in the Navy ROTC program. He transferred to SMSU, graduating in 1964 with a bachelor of arts in business. The same year, he married Nancy Mills and upon this union they had four children.

After graduation, Bob moved back to Willow Springs to help his dad run Curtis Department Stores. He took over the Willow Springs location where he and Nancy spent 30 years providing service to his hometown community. In 1984, Bob took over the Mountain View store after the death of his father and continued to open stores in West Plains and Salem. He spent the better part of 40 years in the business and had a wonderful career meeting the needs of his customers.

After retiring from Curtis Department Stores, Bob enjoyed a second career as a driver for SMTS. He thoroughly enjoyed the company and the people he worked with. He treasured the relationships he formed with his patients and the stories they shared between them as he took them to their appointments across the state of Missouri.

Bob was a part-time farmer for his entire life but put his whole heart into it. From his childhood, the only thing that would raise him early was to milk a cow, and he would still be late to school! The farm brought him and his family many joys, memories and wonderful life lessons. Over the course of his life and through his love of animals, Bob raised countless cattle, pigs, horses, chickens, geese, farm raised catfish, stray dogs and an unending number of barn cats. He spent his parenting years teaching his girls the value of hard work on the farm and in the stores.

Bob married Laura Ladd in 2002. Through their marriage, Laura spent many years as a devoted wife and stepmother, caring for both Bob and his son Andy.

Bob was a pillar of the community. He was actively involved with the Lions Club for most of his adult life, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Booster Club, United Methodist Church, and president of the Willow Springs Scholarship Club to name a few. Bob enjoyed singing in the choir at church, his weekly Wednesday night bowling league, trap shooting on the weekends and hunting for deer on the farm or pheasants in Kansas.

Bob was a history and geography buff. He loved to travel, obtaining his private pilot’s license and flying his family around Missouri and Kansas. Throughout his life, he was fortunate enough to go to Europe twice, visiting the countries of England, France, the Netherlands, Greece, and Germany. Bob went to Canada on several occasions and also enjoyed many beach vacations to Mexico. He has been to most of the United States, including both Hawaii and Alaska.

He also had a heart for giving to those less fortunate, giving much time to organizations such as the Salvation Army as a bell ringer coordinator. He had a giving spirit, always donating to his favorite charities.

Bob is survived by his three daughters, Tawnya Atkisson of Orem, Utah, Karey Curtis of Joplin, Missouri, and Michelle Nunamaker (D.J.) of Columbia, Missouri; sister, Barbara Spraker (Jim) of Seattle, Washington; 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Edgar and Maxine Curtis; his first wife, Nancy Curtis Rench; his brother, Danny Curtis; and his son, Andrew Curtis.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a small donation to Wonderland Camp, where Bob’s son Andy spent a week every summer being loved and cared for by those who invest in children and adults with special needs. Donation can be sent to: Wonderland Camp, 18591 Miller Circle, Rocky Mount, MO 65072

A celebration of the well-lived life of Robert Curtis will be held at Westside Family Life Center on May 2, 2021 at 12:15 p.m. If distance prevents your attendance, please watch the livestream service at A graveside memorial will immediately follow at Willow Springs City Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Ozark Memorial Park Crematory of Joplin.