CHRISTOPHER JOHN CURTIS August 1, 1963 December 22, 2020 Christopher John Curtis (Chris) triumphed over amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for seven years, but with no beneficial treatment or cure, his triumph turned to tragedy in the early hours of December 22, 2020. With his adoring family and dear friends at his side, he passed peacefully in his home. Chris was born August 1, 1963 to John (Jack) and Maria Curtis in Las Vegas, Nevada, and his sister Jeana came along six years later. He grew up attending Catholic schools and graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in 1981. Chris went on to receive an undergraduate degree from UCLA and his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School. It was during his time in Los Angeles when he started dating fellow Nevadan Ellen Schmidt. They were engaged in 1991 and decided to return to Nevada to start a family. They married on September 26, 1992. Their son Cameron was born in 1993 and their son Cole in 1997. He was a tremendously active parent, coaching youth basketball leagues, taking his sons to fish and hunt in Sunnyside Nevada (his second home), spending weeks at the beach, and traveling to off road races. Chris was a proud member of both the California and Nevada Bar Associations. He was a well-respected member of the bar, and practiced for 30 years, primarily as an associate and partner at Nevada's Thorndal, Armstrong, Delk, Balkenbush and Eisinger. His illness forced him into an early retirement in December 2016. With time on his hands and a tremendous amount of passion, he and Ellen formed TeamCurtis4aCure and partnered with the ALS Association Nevada Chapter to become an advocate and fundraiser. Chris also joined the board of directors and was a vocal patient advocate. The programs he and Ellen developed and implemented raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the chapter. The mission was to provide access to adventure and enjoyment of life to patients throughout Nevada. His mantra #dowhatyoucando was how he lived through his illness. He was the most active ALS patient ever. He was recognized in February 2019 as an ALS Hero by the national association at a ceremony in North Carolina. Chris thrived on adventure. He was a trail runner, fisherman, hunter, motorsports fanatic, hiker, mountain biker and kayaker. He was a passionate fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, and was thrilled to see them win a championship this year. He also thrived on people. He was a people's person. He could (and would) strike up conversations with everyone. Second only to adventure was his love of craft beer, fine wine, and small batch bourbons. He could be seen at the many bars, tap rooms and restaurants around the valley the fun guy in the wheelchair. He turned those connections into meaningful relationships, and in turn created fundraising efforts to benefit Nevadans suffering from ALS. Chris was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents, and his father (and best friend) Jack. He is survived by his wife Ellen, beloved sons Cameron and Cole, mother Maria Curtis, sister Jeana Curtis (Daryl Arrighi), mother- and father-in-law Donna and Bob Schmidt, sisters- and brothers-in-law, many nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many, many friends. Services are pending, but there will be a Celebration of Life befitting his zest for living in 2021 when it is safe for family and friends to gather in his honor. The family encourages extending Chris's and TeamCurtis4aCure's legacy of giving with a memorial gift to the ALS Association Nevada Chapter: 3191 E. Warm Springs Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89120 or visit alsanv.org
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Published by Las Vegas Review-Journal on Dec. 27, 2020.