His relaxed, easy manner makes you immediately comfortable in his presence. Elder LeGrand Raine Curtis is the kind of man who, in his own words, “would rather wear short-sleeved shirts.” Yet, at the same time, there is an intensity, an energy about him, especially when he is talking about the Church. Then his attitude is anything but casual.
The Church has always played a prominent role in Elder Curtis’s life. Born on 22 May 1924 to Alexander and Genevieve Raine Curtis, he came into a family in which Church activity was the norm. “Home night,” family prayer, and weekly church attendance were an intrinsic part of life in the Curtis home in Salt Lake’s Sugarhouse area. “Everyone went to church. I simply have never doubted,” he says.
His faith is manifested in a lifetime of steady, devoted labor in the kingdom. He decided early in life that he would never turn down a call to serve—that he would do whatever the Lord asked him to do. His service began as a branch president while he was in dental school. It continued through years of service as a bishop, stake president, regional representative (twice), member of the Young Men General Presidency, and member of the General Melchizedek Priesthood Committee. Most recently, he has been serving as a stake patriarch and as a temple sealer—two callings he loves because they deal with people and with the Spirit.
When called to serve as president of the Florida Tallahassee Mission twelve years ago, Elder Curtis gave up his thriving orthodontic practice. Now, at age sixty-five, he says, “I’m leaving it again.” But his smile conveys more anticipation than sadness. “I’m extremely humbled by the call. We were in a comfortable rut.”
We. If there is anything Elder Curtis loves to talk about more than the gospel and its effect on people, it is his wife, Patricia Glade Curtis. The two of them became acquainted as students at Irving Junior High in Salt Lake City. Their friendship continued through high school and into their freshman year at the University of Utah, when they had their first date. “We went dancing, and from then on it was just wonderful,” he says.
World War II prevented Elder Curtis from serving a mission. He enrolled in dental school, leaving Patricia behind for a time while he participated in an army program that allowed him to continue his studies. Finally, on 1 June 1944, the two of them were married in the Salt Lake Temple, and she traveled with him thereafter. Kansas City, Missouri; Corpus Christi, Texas; Norfolk, Virginia—wherever they went, they looked up the Church and served.
When the army discontinued its dental study program, he was released to continue his studies. In 1946, after graduating from dental school, he completed his remaining military obligation as a lieutenant and dentist in the navy.
Home life for the Curtises became an extension of the home lives they had known as children: teaching their children the gospel, having home evening and family prayer, supporting one another in callings they never considered sacrifices but, rather, blessings. In time, Elder and Sister Curtis were blessed with eight children: Richard; Glade; LeGrand, Jr.; Candi (Merrell); Terri (Eldredge); Sydney (Lindsley); Brent; and Rebecca (Timmins). All have been married in the temple, the last two by their father. And to this point, they have blessed their parents’ lives with twenty-seven grandchildren.
What will her husband bring to this new calling? Sister Curtis responds: “He has great enthusiasm for the gospel. He loves to see people improve their lives and do better. And he has a great eye for organization.”
Elder Curtis simply says of his new calling, “I am anxious to make whatever contribution I can.”