Robert Curtis (Curt) McKee, 88, of Bourne died April 11, 2017.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 62 years, Betty Ann (Platin) McKee. He also leaves his daughters and their husbands, Caroline and Greg Anderson of Bourne, and Joanna and David Christopher of Mashpee, along with his granddaughter Michele Anderson of Seattle, WA. His son, Robert (Robbie) Curtis McKee. Jr., predeceased him in 1976.
Curt was a long-time educator and administrator in the Falmouth School System (1958-1986) and an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth (1986-2003). He retired at age 75 when, as he often recalled, the university “made me an offer I could refuse.” The popular educator, who primarily taught English courses, was known for his dry wit and having high, but fair, expectations of his students.
Curt was the only child of Dorothy Lloyd Curtis and Robert Roy McKee, Jr. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in White Plains. As a child, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. In high school, the young clarinetist organized a band, Bobby Curtis and His Boys that played dances, Bar Mitzvahs and any gig they could get.
Upon graduation, he joined the Dartmouth College class of 1950. However, unsure of his academic direction, he interrupted his studies during his sophomore year, joined the Navy and became a yeoman in the Personnel Office of the Fleet All Weather Training Unit, Atlantic, based at the Naval Air Station in Key West, Florida. He had a good job and three prized possessions: a sailboat, a car and enough gear to fish off the Continental Shelf.
After receiving an honorable discharge in 1952, he returned to Dartmouth, became a Rufus Choate Scholar and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in 1954.
His foray into teaching began at Sanborne Seminary in Kingston, NH, where he met his wife, also a teacher. The couple married in 1955 and moved to the Hanover-Lebanon area, where he taught at Hanover High School and then served as the Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth.
In 1958, the couple moved to Falmouth, where Curt taught at Lawrence High School, then Falmouth High School and earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Bridgewater State College in 1961. Although he headed the FHS English Department for many years, he always maintained a classroom presence and taught several honors courses every year.
Curt loved good books, good conversation and a good breeze out on Nantucket Sound, where he captained a variety of sailboats. Most of all, he loved his family. His greatest wish was that his daughters would always want to come home. One never left the Cape; the other returned often and just retired here.
After a brief illness, he died peacefully in his sleep at Falmouth Hospital.
Visiting hours will be held on Friday, May 5, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 584 West Falmouth Highway (Route 28A), West Falmouth. A 12:45 burial will follow at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Falmouth High School, C/O Business Office, 340 Teaticket Hwy., E. Falmouth, MA 02536, to support students who plan careers in teaching.