Educator John Curtis Jr., of Montclair, died on Aug. 15, 2021. 

Mr. Curtis was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1941, the only son of John Sr. and Lillian Curtis. His parents moved to Belleville shortly after he was born.

He served in the Air Force and soon after pursued a career in education, where he flourished as a teacher, an assistant principal and a director of special education.




Mr. Curtis earned a master’s degree in education, and during his time as an assistant principal was chosen by then Education Commissioner Saul Cooperman as one of only three New Jersey minority administrators to work in the state Department of Education, as part of a new minority fellowship program designed to recruit more minorities into educational management.

Afterward he became director of special education in Paterson, a position he was proud of.

In 1982 he married Janet Jackson and was a loving husband to her as well as an amazing father to her son, Warren.

Mr. Curtis was also a devoted member of Christ Church of Montclair, where he served as an usher, for over 20 years.

He and his wife traveled quite often, and he was an avid golfer, a game he became quite good at. 

He was aware of his blessings and was always willing to help people less fortunate than himself.

Mr. Curtis is survived by his wife of 39 years, Janet; his son, Warren; his granddaughter, Brianna; his great-grandson, Isaiah; his godson, Kyle; his cousins, Francis Leach, Catherine, Dorothy, Donald and Frank Edgerton and Julius Jones; his brothers and sisters-in-laws, Lonnie and Lovette Gayle and Bobby and Ellen Gayle, as well as faithful friends Lorenzo Edwards and Calvin Hall and a host of other relatives and loved ones. 

A memorial celebration of Mr. Curtis’ life was held at Christ Church Aug. 25. Arrangements were by Martin’s Home for Service.