Dr. Curlee was born to Kenneth William and Portia A. (Lubchenco) Curlee on Dec. 16, 1944, in Sterling. He graduated from Sterling High School and went on to Davidson College in North Carolina, finishing his bachelor’s degree in 1967.
As a lieutenant in the Army, he served as a medic in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.
In 1967, he married Pamela Blandin in Sterling. The couple had two daughters together before the marriage ended in divorce after 33 years.
On returning from the war, Dr. Curlee studied microbiology at the University of Texas in Austin, going on to graduate from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1975.
Dr. Curlee specialized in internal medicine, starting his internship at McGill University in Montreal and completing his residency at University of Vermont in Burlington in 1980.
Dr. Curlee practiced medicine for more than 30 years. He had a private practice in Grand Junction, later working for the St. Mary’s Family Medicine Residency Program, where he shared his passion for teaching medicine.
Dr. Curlee had a daughter, Sophie Curlee, with his companion, Diane Weissman, of Phoenix.
In 2000, he moved to California, first to Pasadena and later to Sonoma, where he was a hospitalist. In 2007, he moved to Durango and worked as a hospitalist at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington.
Dr. Curlee wrote and sketched daily in a black notebook that he always carried. His drawings catalogued images of his daughters as ballerinas, mothers, performers and travelers.
“His paintings often expressed the beautiful landscapes of his beloved Colorado, Southwest desert and many foreign traveled lands,” his family said. “He read voraciously and surrounded his life with the classics as well as with the more obtuse books of physics and medical research. Dr. Curlee played the guitar, violin and French horn. A fisherman his entire life, Dr. Curlee had yet to catch big fish ‘Walter,’ who still swims in the Animas River.”
Dr. Curlee is survived by his daughters, Ericka Curlee of Durango, Alexi Cashen of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Sophie Curlee of Phoenix; brothers, Charles Curlee of Denver, John Curlee of Minneapolis and James Curlee of Southbend, Ind.; former wife, Pamela Curlee of Denver; former companion, Diane Weissman of Phoenix; and four grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 4, 2013, at Ridgewood Event Center at Blue Lake Ranch in Durango.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Music in the Mountains, 1063 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301; or Bridge to Healing Foundation, 18037 SE Heritage Drive, Tequesta, FL 33469, for Newtown Donation or under Select a Project at http://bridgetohealinginc.com.