It is with deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Curtis Roy Whiteway (96). Born in Nov. 3, 1925, he and his family lived in Franklin Park, Boston, Massachusetts. His mother was named Katherine (Curtis) Whiteway, nicknamed Kitty; she was a teacher and registered nurse. Ray Whiteway, their father, worked in the trades. He had one sister named Loris. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Whiteway (married in April of 1949) and his three children: Curtis Jr. Whiteway, Kerry Edmunds, Doreen Chambers. Paula Donaghy passed away in 2016. He had three grandchildren: Jeanne Ball, Brooke Lorentzen, and Kristian Donaghy and a great-granddaughter: Kaitlyn Donaghy.
A week before he passed, he woke up briefly to tell a visiting friend, “I dreamt I was a cowboy fighting my last battle with the bad guys (he had watched his favorite TV series, Gunsmoke earlier in the day). She added, “We know what battle that really was.” He shall be remembered riding up to the stars on the wings of a great white horse covered in purple hearts.
Curtis R. Whiteway (Army S/SGT 1943-1946, Army intelligence 1948-1949) enlisted in the Army in 1943 at 18 years old and received specialized training as an Army Ranger. He was assigned to the 99th Infantry Division, 394th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company E, nicknamed the Checkerboards, which referred to its checkered shoulder patch. Curtis and the Checkerboards did their share in liberating the concentration camps during WWII and did make 4,000 Nazi bastards die for their country. He received the following military awards in recognition of his contributions to public service and the fight against prejudice and hatred: Silver Star (mentioned at the division level), three Bronze Stars (mentioned at regiment or brigade level), and three Purple Hearts (wounded or killed while serving).
In 1970, Whiteway and his family moved to Plainfield, Vermont. The following is a summary of a story Tim Clark wrote in November of 1986 titled The Righteous Gentile in Yankee magazine: Art Edelstein of the Montpelier Times Argus reported that Whiteway was being honored as a Liberator and Righteous Gentile in Israel, during the Yom Hashoa, a day set aside to remember the Holocaust. During the ceremony, eight hundred participants rose to their feet to give Whiteway a standing ovation in appreciation of a most unique person and friend. That trip to Israel on May 5, 1986, changed his life and led him on a journey of discovery, drawing from the moral sense that he learned from his early life.
In 1993, Curtis attended the opening ceremony of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a special “guest of honor” to honor the millions of individuals who died in the holocaust. Stated in a press release from Washington, DC. Liberator “Whiteway” was invited to attend the lighting of the candle ceremony in Rotunda, Holocaust Memorial Museum dedication, Arlington Honors. First Lady Laura Bush delivered the keynote address. Sara J. Bloomfield of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum said about Whiteway, “You are a national treasure. Please know how much we value all you do for our shared cause to try and make the world a little more humane, in hopes that the future will be different from the past.”
When Curtis retired he and his family moved to the small Vermont town of Craftsbury Common, Vermont. Since that time, he has traveled the United States trying to educate students and adults about how terrible war is and worked to document and teach them about the crimes of the Third Reich. He has authored two books on the Holocaust: Brave Men Don’t Cry and Forget Me Not.
On May 2005, he was invited, as a liberator, by Benjamin Meed to “Light a candle for the 6 million who died in the camps with five survivors and senators in the Rotunda. Ninety-ninth (99th) Liberators’ Flag (middle), in the Hall of Flags. Elenor Lester, Editor of Readers Digest and Jewish Week said, “Whiteway’s inner strength has always helped guide him (Curtis Whiteway) towards tolerance and respect for all life. We must not forget the teachings of our past, and gather the inner strength to fight against anti-Semitism, prejudice, bigotry, sexism and hate.” Sometimes choosing to voice your opinion for what is morally correct will not be popular; that is why it is called courage,” Whiteway added.
Over the years, many thousands of adults and students have listened to Curtis Whiteway’s wartime speeches, videos, lectures, and stories. Many of his amazing stories can be found on the internet, in books, videos, and in a variety of magazine articles. At his request, there will be no services. Curtis will be buried at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph, Vermont. In place of flowers, a donation can be made to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum,100 Raoul Wallenberg Pl SW, Washington, DC 20024.