John Edwin Curtis, known as Jack, of Easton, CT was a quintessential self-made man who was lucky to find his passion early in life. A renowned landscape architect with a 50-year career starting in the mid-1960s working with and mentored by landscape architect pioneer Ed Bye of A.E. Bye Associates, Jack Curtis was known for his humility, creativity, and love of his profession.
Jack formed Landplan Partnership in Southport, CT with two colleagues in 1970s and served as a principal for 12 years before starting his own firm, Jack Curtis + Associates, in Monroe, CT as a sole proprietor for over 3 decades before retiring in 2015.
Jack, 77, died on May 2, 2020 from complications of COVID-19. For 58 years, he was the beloved husband of Dorothy P. (Dolly) Curtis, adoring father to Kara A. Curtis of Medford, MA, and Jason A. Curtis of Easton, CT, and brother of Janet Brown of Brooksville, FL.
Born in 1943 in Alexandria, VA, Jack was the son of John and Ruth Curtis. He grew up in Springfield, PA, outside Philadelphia and attended Penn State University, where he met and married Dolly. Jack graduated with a BS in Landscape Architecture in 1966.
Outside of his family, Jack’s life revolved around landscape architecture – his love of design and the natural environment. During his career, Jack designed landscapes for corporate headquarters, government buildings, city plazas, university campuses, private schools, event facilities and residences. He was especially adept at achieving his goal of creating timeless settings in which people could find respite in the natural environment.
Jack’s talent was obvious early on with his ability to pass the licensing exam (all 4 sections) on his first pass and later in his career he would be appointed to the CT State Board of Landscape Architects.
Jack was licensed in several states and gained a national reputation while working with large corporations, high profile private clients, national museums, reputable universities, and well-known architecture firms such as Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo + Associates and Edward L. Barnes/John M.Y. Lee, P.C. His work is located primarily in Connecticut, New York (including NYC), Washington, DC, and Columbus, Indiana which is known as the Midwest’s architectural mecca.
Among his many awards, his designation as a Fellow by the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2000 was the proudest moment of his professional life; a pinnacle achievement in his profession.
Some notable works include General Foods World Headquarters, NY, Knights of Columbus, CT, UNICEF Plaza, NYC, Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, Washington, D.C, Caneel Bay Resort in St John, Virgin Islands (owned by Rockefellers), Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, Cummins Engine Headquarters and J. Irvin Miller Estate in Indiana, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, and Timex World Headquarters, CT.
Jack excelled at creating thoughtful, timeless design that was there to stay because it was both beautiful and functional. To achieve this outcome, Jack could guide clients, stakeholders, and staff towards a shared vision that all took pride in. That was Jack’s special gift and talent.
Jack will be remembered for his dignity, warm smile, generous spirit, and humble nature. Known for his mild temperament and empathy by always seeing the good in other people (even challenging clients), Jack was a kind and handsome man with contemporary yet classic style who everyone says was a really good guy and mentor to many.
A memorial will be held at later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jack’s memory may be made to “Penn State,” Department of Landscape Architecture, Penn State University, 2583 Gateway Drive, Bristol Place One, Suite 130, State College, PA 16801, or given online at raise.psu.edu/PSULandscapeArchitecture
Arrangements are being handled by the Spear-Miller Funeral Home, Fairfield, CT.