In Memoriam Dr. Eugene Curtsinger

Dr. Curtsinger in front of the UD Tower

It has been a little bit of time since Dr. Curtsinger’s death.  I often recall his class, recall his mannerisms, his stories.  I cannot imagine having not taken his class.  But why bring up Dr. Curtsinger?  It’s not so much that I’ve been listening to “I’ll Be Missing You” or that I own a portion of Dr. Curtsinger’s library (thanks to his dear grandson Thomas),as much as the fact that, upon attempting to retrieve an e-mail address of a friend, I stumbled upon this gem–a “fac list” e-mail from Dr. Maurer–a sortof In Memoriam to Dr. Curtsinger.  I am glad that I keep e-mails (the very idea is hilarious to be able to “keep” an e-mail) because occasionally that can be a catalyst of ancient and good memories.  I pulled up this e-mail, and it brought me back to that time and that place, but put it in the frame-work of a misty and bleary recollection, which seems to be the “seascape of Irving” (as if it were all a dream).  Just as Dr. Maurer says that he does not see or hear, but he feels: feels it in the deep hearts core.

I don’t think first of seeing or hearing Gene; I think first of touching him, or, rather, his touching me. From the first day I got here, Gene greeted me as he did countless others of his friends, colleagues and students, by taking hold of my arms. Sometimes, it was a touch; sometimes, a squeeze. But it was usually a grappling. He’d grapple me, taking the measure of my strength and courage, revealing his own fuller portion of both in turn. Of course, the grappling came with his smile and his wit, and like others in our department and school, I have learned more than I could catalogue about reading, writing, and teaching from him.


But, to allude to his King-Haggar Address of 2004, I’d say that the Moby Dick in him met the Moby Dick in me in that grapple, and those countless grapples in the seascape of Irving, Texas aboard Braniff left an impression on my soulscape. And on my arms a couple of gentle bruises I now cherish and miss.


Karl Maurer, Chair of Classics
University of Dallas
215 Carpenter Hall
1845 East Northgate Drive
Irving, Texas 75062

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