Curtis Lane Barber was born on December 29, 1936 in Redmond, Oregon to Margaret Lillian Varnes and Theodore Calvin Barber. He had an older sister, Beverly, who he began tagging along after as soon as he was able. He departed life on February 13, 2021. In between those events, he led a life full of adventure.
He always loved animals and loved having them around whether it was dogs, horses, cattle, birds or even stray wild creatures that he rescued and brought home like his bobcats he raised and then released back into the wilds of Northern Nevada when he was a teen.
He learned to fly at an early age from his father and was very good at it. An airplane was an extension, a tool to enjoy the freedom of the air and get where he needed to go whether that was the post office or high school. He joined the Air Force straight out of high school with the dream of becoming an astronaut. He qualified, started the training, but then Congress cut the funding and his class was one of those cut, so he joined the Air National Guard. He married Fern Irene Rice on September 1, 1959. Over the years, they had ten children. During their married life, he worked as a chemist for the Bureau of Mines while in college, then he graduated from UNR with a degree in Chemistry and went on to never use that degree again. Instead, he signed on with Bonanza Airlines as a pilot. He always said, it beat working for a living. He flew as an airline pilot until the government retired him at age 60. He also flew for the Guard during that time, until he retired as a Major after 20 years. That included time in both the Arctic and the Pacific flying missions through some of the nuclear testing and a year and a half from home flying secretive missions into South America, Vietnam, and over Korea. His Guard unit was a reconnaissance unit, so he wasn’t always able to say where he’d been or what he’d been doing.
Flying wasn’t Curtis’ whole life though. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was 19. He loved the gospel and took every opportunity to share it. He was involved in missionary work whenever he could be and looked forward to the time when he could serve a full-time mission when his family was grown. However, Fern’s unexpected death in 2000 put those plans on hold for a bit longer. Marriage to Pamela Winsor in 2002 made his dream once again a possibility and they served together in the Baltimore, Maryland Mission while his youngest son, Calvin, was on a mission in Mexico. Curt also served in the St. George temple 13 years and then the Las Vegas temple for 17 years, both before and after his mission. As if all of that wasn’t enough, he was always helping someone.
Family was also important. Curtis and Fern were given guardianship over Beverly’s three children after her death. Kelly, Wendy, and Suzanne Nicole became part of the family. He loved genealogy, feeling an indebtedness to those who had come before and made his life at this time a possibility. He also loved getting his family together and enjoying their company. He passed some of that on to his children along with his love of animals and adventure. Preceding him in death were his parents, Margaret and Theodore Barber; his sister, Beverly; his first wife, Fern Barber; and three children, David Barber, Robin Barber, and Dawn Barber. Curtis is survived by his second wife, Pamela; his children, Joan Kirby (Michael), Theodore Barber (Melody), Betsy Sprague (Jeff), Michelle Ericksen (Dave), Myrna Foster (Ben), William Barber (Lucy), and Calvin Barber; his step-children, Ross Shurtliff (Donna), Ranee Turnage (Don), Tami Quiring (Kenny), Carey Shurtliff; as well as 37 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 11:00 am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Hinckley Chapel, 1505 West Hinckley, Logandale, NV with a visitation from 9:30 to 10:30 am prior to the services at the chapel. Interment will follow in the Logandale Cemetery. A live stream of the services will be available at the Curtis Barber Memorial Facebook Group. Friends and family are invited to sign our online guestbook at www.moapavalleymortuary.com
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