James John Curtis died peacefully at his home in Mountain View on July 23 from complications of his year-long fight against lung cancer. He was 76. A memorial is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, in the garden of Jack and Ruth Letts, 439 Lincoln Ave., Palo Alto.
Born in 1935 in St. Charles, Mo., he and his wife Kita moved to California in 1960 to start a new life. He was a stockbroker in San Francisco until he started his own company, the Energy Efficient Mortgage Company, a business that facilitated energy improvements on new home purchases.
He was an active member of the Palo Alto Tennis Club for many years. He loved to watch basketball, listen to jazz, go to the theater and pursue his interest in history and the arts. He also liked to rail at the "talking heads" on the news, his family said. He organized athletic gatherings called the J&K Pentathlon for friends. He was a talented story and joke-teller and loved to dazzle people with his sleight-of-hand card tricks, his family said. His family also remembers him as a skillful chef and dessert-maker.
He is survived by Kita, his wife of 51 years; his children Richard, Steven and David Curtis and Shelly Pargh; and two grandchildren.