Aubyn Ann Curtiss, age 92, has died. The former Montana State Senator and Representative passed away at her home near Fortine, surrounded by the love and care of her children, relatives and friends on Aug. 9, 2017.
Aubyn was born in Park City, Montana on July 1, 1925. Her parents were Perry Davis Armstrong and Ina Guthrie Armstrong, both school teachers. The family moved to Fortine when Aubyn and her younger sister Rosalie were very young. It was there that her mother died of TB when the girls were five and six years old. Raised by her loving father, she and her sister traveled with him to his various teaching jobs around the state but Fortine was always considered home. She graduated from Lincoln County High School in Eureka in 1943 and then moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA and study journalism. While there she worked in the shipyards as a welder helping build the “Liberty” ships as part of the war effort. Following the end of World War II she returned to Montana and married her sweetheart, David Curtiss in a military ceremony in Great Falls. The two built their home on Deep Creek near Fortine and their first child, Sue, was born there.
The family lived an adventurous life. Dave worked in the woods and owned a saw mill. They moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in the late 1940s where their son David Marcel was born. Shortly after that they returned to Montana for the children to be able to attend better schools and be close to family. Their son Gareth was born there in 1959. David sold the mill shortly thereafter and went to work for the U.S. Forest Service where he was the District Fire Control Officer at Murphy Lake until his retirement.
Aubyn Curtiss deeply loved Montana. In the early 1960s, Aubyn had a series of prolonged illnesses and nearly died. Upon getting better she took a role in helping do interviews with the people who were being displaced by the building of the Libby Dam and Koocanusa reservoir. The plight of the people in the face of a taking by big government prompted her to begin taking an active part in politics. A lifelong Republican, Aubyn first served at the local party level. She ran for the State Legislature in 1971 and was narrowly defeated. Never a quitter, she ran again and in 1976 started her long career in state politics. She served many years in the Montana House of Representatives as well as in the State Senate. She also served for a period as the State Chairman of the Republican Party. She was a proud supporter of Ronald Reagan and met with him on numerous occasions. She was appointed by him to serve on the Presidential Scholars Commission and served there under both President Reagan and President Bush. Upon being term limited out of the House and Senate, Aubyn continued to be active in Party politics and the issues that concerned her community. Her style in government was never to impose her ideas upon those she served but instead listen closely to their needs and truly represent their wishes.
A very humble person, she was loved by many people. Her deep Christian faith dictated how she conducted herself through life. Her desire every day was to be a blessing to someone. She was the rock of her family and her steadfastness through personal trials and adversity is a testimony to all who have known and been inspired by her. She made a positive difference in the lives of many, many people and she will be sorely missed.
She was preceded in death by her sister Rosalie; her husband, David R. Curtiss; and her son, David M. She is survived by her daughter Sue; her son Gareth; her grandchildren Patrick Nelson, David Curtiss III, Aubyn Bluette Curtiss, Heath Curtiss and Amber Curtiss; also her great-granddaughters Rachel, Annalise and Harper.
Memorial services for Aubyn will be at the Fortine Community church at 11 a.m. on Aug. 19, 2017 with a graveside service to follow at the Fortine Community Cemetery. Memorials in her honor may be made to the Missionary fund at the Fortine Community Church, 240 Meadow Creek Road, Fortine, Montana 59918.
Arrangements are under the care of Schnackenberg & Nelson Funeral Home of Eureka. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.schnackenbergfh.com.