By Tom BUSSELBERG
One of the pictures I like to recall, in my mind’s eye, is Steve Curtis, shovel in hand, digging a hole.
He was helping get ground prepared for the laying of pipe along Layton’s west Gentile Street.
Or seeing him give heartfelt tribute to veterans on a snowy, Sunday morning, during a Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. service which Layton holds every year, regardless of what day of the week the date falls.
Or seeing him cheer on young little league players, giving them the High 5 and a shout out of encouragement.
That was Mayor Steve Curtis Р a humble, “common” man. And I mean that in the most positive sense.
He passed away early Friday morning, after having enjoyed Thanksgiving with his family.
Steve, as he liked to be called, was only 58 years old.
As one council member told me, he had his health challenges. But he appeared to be fine at a council meeting the week before.
He was enthusiastic as ever during the tree lighting ceremony he led on Monday, Nov. 25.
Steve was such a booster for Layton, indeed the whole county, as Bountiful Mayor Joe Johnson said.
He was all for the good of all. Territorial boundaries didn’t much matter to Steve. He wanted to make life better for everybody.
Steve served on the city council for 10 years and as mayor he was finishing his second four-year term. He’d decided not to run again.
Rather, he wanted to spend more time with family.
As with every city in the county, a person runs for mayor for reasons other than money.
Although Layton is the county’s most populous city, with nearly 70,000 residents, the mayor isn’t handsomely paid.
He makes a little more than $20,000 a year. The pay is nothing like some other cities, where mayors can devote their full-time to the job, and live off of the salary.
But Steve did the job because he cared about Layton, about its people.
Layton is tied at the hip to Hill AFB, much of which geographically sits within its boundaries. Economically, the base plays a big part in the city’s vitality Р or potential lack of it.
Steve rubbed shoulders with airmen and commanders alike, growing to feel comfortable with everyone.
He had the thrill of flying in an F-16. He was honored as an honorary commander.
He worked so hard to make people at the base feel a part of the community. After all, many are there for only a short time.
Professionally, Steve worked for what is now CenturyLink, during a career that spanned nearly 30 years.
He spent lots of time on a pole, braving the wind and rain and other inclement weather.
So he knew what work out in the elements was.
And he also knew what life for the “common man” was.
He cared for everybody, rich and poor alike. He was friends with everybody. And he tried to spread good to everyone around him.
His funeral was held at the Davis Conference Center, a county-owned facility in Layton that he also championed.
Because I had to write this before the service actually took place, I don’t know how many attended.
But I can imagine there were a good many people there. The so-called great and the so-called humble.
Because Steve was a friend to all of them.
God bless Steve, wherever he is now. And please be with his family and loved ones. You had the privilege of having a choice man in your midsts.