In Memoriam

Article excerpt

Major General Edward Peck Curtis, an Honorary Member of the ASC, died in Rochester on March 13 at the age of 90. He became a friend to many cinematographers during his 42 years of service with Eastman Kodak Company, and was known to a grateful nation as "the architect of the Federal Aviation Administration."

Gen. Curtis was born in Rochester on January 14, 1897, and studied at Williams College. With the outbreak of war in Europe in 1916, he left college in his junior year to join the American Field Service, serving with the French Army. When the United States entered the war, he joined the American Air Corps and became an official "ace" - one of the last three to survive - after shooting down six German planes while a lieutenant in the 95th Aero Squadron. At the age of 22 he became a major - the youngest in the Air Corps - and served as aide to General Billy Mitchell. He also wrote a training manual for pursuit pilots and was, for eight months, military secretary to the U.S. Commissioner in the Baltic Provinces of Russia. This was somewhat of a cloak-and-dagger operation, with the Red and White armies battling while the Americans and British covertly tried to halt the growing tide of Bolshevism.

By war's end Curtis held the French Legion of Honor, the Croix de Guerre, the Russian Order of St. Anne, a citation from General Pershing, and an honorary membership in Britain's Order of the Bath - the closest thing to knighthood for a foreigner. In 1920 he returned to civilian life and a job in the Eastman Kodak Rochester headquarters, working in accounting, processing and motion picture film. He was transferred to motion picture sales in 1926, and in two years became director of motion picture sales. …