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Posted on May 8, 2015 | 11:47 a.m.

Curtis Aker of Santa Barbara, 1928-2015

Source: Nancy Law

Curtis Aker
Curtis Aker

Curtis O. Aker passed away on April 28, 2015, in hospice care at his son Robert's home with all three of his children — Bob, Jan and Steve — at his side.

Curtis was 3 pounds at birth, born to a teen mom in a Cincinnati hospital where he lived for the first two years of his life. It was the depths of the Great Depression, and when it was time to leave, Curtis was left by his mother at an orphanage called The Children's Home of Cincinnati, where he lived for the next 16 years. It was a harsh environment, without love or tenderness, but surprisingly rich with cultural and extracurricular activities such as trips to the theater, violin lessons, summer camps, and outdoor and sport activities — all courtesy of the wealthy families who were the orphanage's benefactors.

Curtis married the lovely Virginia Moss in 1949. He then served two years in the U.S. Army and was trained as a tank operator, his small size being a big advantage. After his service, they returned to Cincinnati and he worked for five years at the Ford Motor Company before being offered a position as the grounds and buildings maintenance manager at the very same orphanage where he was raised. With young Bobby and Janny in tow (Steve was born a year later), they moved in. Curtis held his position there for 22 years.

The family spent summers on the Ohio River, water skiing, fishing and swimming. Curtis eventually built two boats: the alarmingly loud "airboat" built from an old airplane engine with propeller, and the lumbering gem of a houseboat built from an iron hull with his son Steve by his side.

Curtis had always wanted to move to a warmer climate. In 1979, he finally persuaded his wife, Virginia, and they bought a home on a waterway in Florida with their own dock and truly enjoyed life. His beloved Virginia passed away in 1988. Curtis remained in Florida for some years and has many close friends with whom he stayed in touch all these years.

Curtis moved to Santa Barbara in 2003, bringing his wonderful zest for life, his gentle demeanor, caring and all-around good nature. He will be missed by all who knew him, for he had a way of improving any situation just with his presence. Curtis was cheerful, kind, funny, intelligent and interesting. In his own, understated way, Curtis was the life of the party.

Curtis is survived by his son Robert Aker (Nancy Law), daughter Jan Parlier (Carl Meyer) and son Steve Aker (Kathy); grandchildren Nikki (Jerry) Schock, Ryan Gilreath (Kate), Kyle Aker, Alek Aker, Stuart Law and Caroline Law; and great-grandchildren Tyler, Zoey, Mya and Parker. Curtis' wife, Virginia (Moss) Aker, and grandson Rob Gilreath predeceased Curtis.

Donations in Curtis' name may be made to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care or ASAP of Santa Barbara.

 

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