Builder left a lasting legacy

By Liz Mellino


Those who knew Colin James Curtis will never forget his infectious smile, booming laugh or larger-than-life personality.

The Strathmerton resident is being remembered for his impeccable craftsmanship and undeniable love for his family, following his death last month.

Mr Curtis died on May 25, aged 57, after the vehicle he was driving collided with a truck on Chapel Rd, Muckatah.

He was a husband, father, brother and friend, with an accomplished building career and a love for life as a farmer.

Mr Curtis was a dearly loved husband to Kim, devoted father to Sarah, Joshua, Jeremy and Bridget, father-in-law to Andy and Theo, grandfather to Jean and Louis, cherished son of Mavis, and brother to Bernard, Ken, Des, Chris and Maree.

Family, friends and community members have shared their memories of the man who was known by many and loved by all.

Mr Curtis was born on October 9, 1960, to Mavis and Eugene (deceased), and was the fifth child for the pair.

Growing up on a dairy farm, he learned at a young age how to drive a tractor and milk cows, something that sparked his love for life on the farm.

He attended St Joseph’s Catholic Convent in Numurkah, and later went on to Numurkah High School and St Mary’s College, Nathalia.

His brother Des acknowledged his quick wit and wise way with words, saying he was the only son who talked their dad out of sending him to boarding school.

While academic studies weren’t his first choice, he followed in the footsteps of his older brother Chris, taking up an apprenticeship as a carpenter with Bruno and Bisoni.

In his eulogy, his brother Ken said he remembered Mr Curtis’ frustration at being an apprentice carpenter and not working on houses and learning the building game like his brother.

‘‘I said to him whatever you do, do it well, your time will come and just remember that good buildings start at the ground,’’ Ken wrote.

‘‘Good foundations and good footings make for a strong structure and I’m sure it held him in good stead later.’’

His brother was right, with Mr Curtis going on to establish an extensive building career, one he was well regarded for in the local community.

During his career he built five beautiful homes for his expanding family, something which his family credited to his unique talent.

‘‘The large number of homes that Col constructed over his life’s journey is a testament of his talent being put to great use,’’ Des wrote in his brother’s eulogy.

While his building career flourished, Mr Curtis always had a hankering for more land.

He eventually made the move to a farm with his wife Kim and four children, where he began working as a farmer.

Despite this, his passion for building never ceased and he completed many projects for local families and developers in the area.

Ken said he would never forget the house his brother built on the banks of the river just outside of Tocumwal, one that took pride of place on the 2ha block of land.

‘‘The completion of this new home demonstrates his skill and perseverance, it now stands as a testament of his ability to deliver great things,’’ Ken wrote.

While his career and love for the farm were some of his greatest passions, Mr Curtis also had a love for classic cars, in particular utes, F100s and his GT.

Those who came in contact with Mr Curtis also acknowledged his love for tractors, Collingwood and the band KISS.

While he had many loves in his life, Mr Curtis’ son Josh said his greatest love was the one he held for his wife, Kim.

They married soon after meeting and went on to have four children and two grandchildren, in a life Kim described as an exciting adventure from the moment they started dating.

Kim said she would never forget how proud her husband was the day he became a grandfather, something that completely changed his world.

‘‘Col became Grandad, the man who adored these precious little bundles from the moment he held them in his arms,’’ she said.

‘‘He was that once-in-a-lifetime person that makes a difference to your life and to many others that he touched.

‘‘He was crazy, kind, stubborn, thoughtful, unpredictable and a million other things.’’

Mr Curtis was farewelled in a colourful celebration surrounded by hundreds of people who had been affected by him in some way during his lifetime.

He was remembered at his funeral as someone who was everybody’s mate, and someone who would leave a lasting impact on so many people.

In his father’s eulogy, his son Joshua described his dad as the rock of the family, someone who was strong, fit, tall and wasn’t afraid of hard work.

‘‘He instilled in all of us that strong work ethic and to always make sure you took pride in your work,’’ he wrote.

‘‘He loved his work, which was lucky as he laboured tirelessly over his life for his family.’’