Edith Augusta Curtis, 88, passed away peacefully with family at her side on July 13, 2018 in Pullman, Washington.
Edith was the second born of four to Theodore “Ted” S. Curtis Sr. and Augusta Tolman Curtis in Caribou, Maine on October 15, 1929.
Edith, or “Edie” as many called her, attended grade school in Orono, ME in a small 1-6 grade school. During her early years she helped her parents in support of WWII efforts. She later attended Orono High School and graduated with honors in 1947. She was active in athletics and academics including awards as a Marksman and Pro-Marksman with the NRA, Junior Maine Guide and Camp Counselor with Girl Scouts.
Edith pursued a degree in English with an Art Minor at the University of Maine and graduated in 1951. During her college career, she was a reporter for the Penobscot Times (Oldtown, ME) and contributed articles to the Bangor Daily Commercial (Bangor, ME). She was involved in the U of M Athletic Department in an office staff roll and later sales manager. In addition, Edith was a student athlete, competing in multiple sports and cross-country ski racing at the national level, coached by her dad. She was recognized by the selection committee for the 1952 Olympics, but the trip never materialized due to lack of funding. Edith loved adventuring and pushing the limits, including skiing and climbing Mt. Hood (in 1951), other peaks in the Cascades and New England, swimming, downhill ski racing (most notably winning gold at Sugarloaf’s first race in 1951), and doing anything she was told she couldn’t do.
She spent her career as a homemaker marrying Arthur Partridge in 1952 in her parent’s home in Orono, ME and raised four children: Debbie, Diane, Cindy and Julie. The family moved several times from Maine to New Hampshire, later to Missouri, and finally to Moscow, Idaho where the family settled. She later divorced in 1982 and pursued and master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the College of Agriculture at the University of Idaho in 1985.
During her time in Moscow, Edith became very involved with multiple organizations including Idaho and Washington Conservation groups (earning a Commendation Certificate in 1972 for her efforts in solving the Moscow flooding issue), Idaho Mountain Rescue Team (badged in 1968), Hunters Education Instructor, Girl Scout Leader, American Legion Auxiliary, League of Women Voters, Track and Ski Team Coach for youth and college, World Senior Olympics Gold Medalist in cross-country skiing, road running races, raising dogs and horses and volunteering in the community. She loved fishing, camping, hiking, berry picking, enjoying wildlife, music, playing cards, singing and kids. Most important to her was raising her daughters to believe in themselves, be tenacious with their goals and strive to be well rounded citizens. She loved showing them the wonders of the world around them.
Upon graduating with her masters, Edith’s dad Ted Sr. gifted her a lot on Williams Island in Maine with some strings attached. Ted Sr. instructed her that she must build the first dwelling on the lot because the local building codes were becoming more difficult. Edith, always looking for a challenge, didn’t hesitate to load her tools and equipment into a Pontiac Astro and headed out for a challenge and adventure. She traveled across the continent to Maine and proceeded to build a house on Williams Island with the assistance of Jim Mann, family, and friends. Edith would rotate between six months at the residence in Maine and six months in the Northwest out of Moscow, Idaho visiting her daughters and grandchildren in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. She took pride supporting her daughters and grandchildren in the different academic and athletic events they participated in. Even into her mid-80’s, Edith was still travelling coast to coast doing what she loved, visiting family and going on adventures.
Edith had a passion for family and sharing her adventurous spirit. She had a desire to do what was said to be “impossible” and always had a cheerful and optimistic attitude in the face of adversity. She leaves behind a legacy and all who knew her will miss her infectious optimistic attitude and her gravitation to take the path less travelled. Her boundless spirit, gritty determination and quirky sense of humor sets the example of truly living life.
Edith celebrated all the holidays as well as nationally recognized days such as Patriots Day and Groundhog Day, though one of her favorites was April Fool’s Day. Son-in-laws soon learned this the hard way. One found himself standing in the county road looking for phantom escaped horses and the other was convinced all his sheep were congregated in the mall parking lot.
She also had an affinity for animals as they to her, domesticated or wild. Turkeys and deer would visit her occasionally, watching her through the picture window and she in turn would return the attention. She raised puppies and spoiled cats. She was a midwife to a horse giving birth to a foal, coaching it when to do what. She loved visiting the ranch in Horseshoe Bend and watching the cows with their calves.
Edith is preceded in death by her mother and father Theodore “Ted” Sr. and Augusta Curtis; brother Theodore “Ted” Curtis Jr.; sister Mary Betts, and her daughter Julie Partridge. She is survived by her sister Peggy Macdonald of Maine; sister-in-law RoseMarie Curtis of ME; daughters Debbie (Sam) Duncan of ID; Diane Partridge of OR; Cinthia (Mike) Fry of ID; grandchildren Phillip (Kimberly) Fry of WY; Sarah Fry of ID, Robert Partridge of MT, Anne Williams of OR, Julie Newman of MA, Corrina Grey of WA and multiple great grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life service will be held in Moscow, ID at the American Legion cabin on Wednesday August 8th at 6:00 p.m. with a sharing of memories and a potluck of light food and drink. Come as you are or wear bright colors to celebrate Edith's bright life. A fall or spring gathering will be held in Maine at a later date.
Her family ask in lieu of flowers and gifts, to donate to the Edith A. Curtis Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo, or donate to your choice of youth organizations, or take a friend or family member on an adventure to the paths less travelled in honor of Edith’s adventurous spirit.