MINOT, ND (KXNET) — Tonight’s Veteran’s Voice comes from a Portal, North Dakota father, son, husband, grandpa, great-grandpa, great-great-grandpa, and a WWII veteran. Ray Curtis is 105 years old and can still remember every detail of his time serving in the Army from 1941 to 1945. He is a North Dakota native who volunteered for World War II.
“Well, I enlisted in January 1941,” said Ray Curtis.
He says that is when his life truly began. Curtis knew he would be drafted no matter what. So, he joined the Army because he said, ‘It’s just something you did,’ and said he was proud to fight for his country.
“I spent my time going from one aircraft battalion to another through the states being an aircraft communication commander or an automatic weapons commander,” said Curtis.
He spent time in the Army traveling throughout the United States and Germany, serving his country until the war was over in 1945. During the war, he married his wife in Reno, Nevada when he had just one day off from the service. At the time, his wedding cost him only $2!
Once he retired from the Army, they moved to Columbus, North Dakota where they started a farm and found out they were expecting twin daughters.
“I felt fine. I suppose as any father feels, he’s proud he has a family,” Curtis said.
Curtis now has five daughters, 10 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. He describes himself as an ordinary person. But everyone around him knows he is anything but that. Curtis exercises five days a week and even teaches fitness classes at The Wellington in Minot, where he lives when the instructors can’t attend. He says everyone always asks him what’s his secret to living 105 years.
And he says, “That’s what everybody asks, but I just do a lot of exercises. I’ve been exercising for about 50 years I suppose. I exercise for about an hour a day. In the morning, I go up on the bicycle and exercise. And I don’t use the pedals, because that’s too easy.”
Staff and family say most of the time, they can’t even keep up with him. Curtis also says it’s important to eat a healthy diet, make a living and do what makes you happiest. Curtis says his favorite thing to keep his mind sharp is playing cards with his friends at the Wellington. His 106th birthday will be in February.
Thank you for your service, Ray.