Obituary: Mary Curtiss

Mary Curtiss, at 83
Mary (Desmond) Curtiss died Oct. 9 of late-stage pulmonary fibrosis and congestive heart failure. She was 83.
Mrs. Curtiss was born in Malden. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Regis College, a master’s degree in chemistry from  the University of Notre Dame, and other degrees in Russian literature and history from Boston University.
As a devoted member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Boston, where she was known as Sr. Kevin Ann, Mrs. Curtiss taught at several Boston Archdiocesan schools, from 1954 to 1970, from first grade through high school. She left the convent in 1970 and became a public school teacher. She taught chemistry at Belmont High School, developed its advanced placement program, served as science department head, and finally served as science coordinator, K-12 (for three elementary schools, a middle school, and high school). Following her retirement, she had the good fortune and great joy of living with her husband, son, and daughter in an oceanfront home in Hull. 
For 20 years after she retired, she served on the executive board of the Hull Garden Club, was a trustee of the Hull Public Library, and chaired the Hull Democratic Town Committee during the tenure of Gov. Deval Patrick and President Barack Obama. Mrs. Curtiss worked tirelessly for their first-term candidacies and received a personal invitation to President-elect Obama’s first inauguration, which she attended with enthusiasm and great hope. 
Most recently, during residence at Linden Ponds in Hingham, Mary and her husband, Damien, were welcomed as participants in the bimonthly “Poetry and Spirituality” sharing and discussions. 
With her husband, family, and friends, she was an avid ocean sailor in and about the Boston Harbor Islands, a mountain hiker, cross-country skier, and cyclist. Her undying love of the arts was enriched by summer graduate study at New York University, with her husband, in Paris, and season tickets for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 
Mrs. Curtiss is survived by her husband of 47 years, Damien Herman Curtiss; her loving and devoted daughter, Lisa Desmond Curtiss; and her loving son, Michael Herman Curtiss, and his wife, Michelle; three wonderful grandchildren, Joseph Michael, Cecilia Rose (Cece), and Lily Marie; and many cherished nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and grand-nephews, who each knew they were singularly loved. 
Mrs. Curtiss was predeceased by her brother, John Michael Desmond, and her sisters, Alice Desmond Cocuzzo and Eileen Desmond Hickman. The children and grandchildren of her sisters were especially dear to Mary, as were her friends, who shared community with the Boston Sisters of St. Joseph, notably Sr. Lois Lyons, Sandra Cortese, and Margaret Bent. 
A memorial wake at 11 a.m. and funeral liturgy at noon will be held at the Paulist Center Chapel, 5 Park St., Boston, on Saturday, Oct. 20. A reception will follow. All are invited. 
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Paulist Center, 5 Park St., Boston MA 02108; St. Nicholas United Methodist Church Bible Study, P.O. Box 12, Hull, MA 02045; or the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph, 637 Cambridge St., Boston 02135.