Phyllis Carleton (Laing) Curtis
HAVERHILL: Phyllis Carleton (Laing) Curtis, 88, widow of the
late Lowell W. Curtis and daughter of the late George T. and
Lois (Carleton) Laing of Bradford, died Thursday morning at
the Merrimack Valley Hospital after a long confinement after
breaking her hip. She lived for the past ten years at
Phoenix Apartments, Phoenix Row in Haverhill.
She was born in the original Hale Hospital on Buttonwoods
Avenue on February 6, 1918 and grew up on her father’s
family homestead at 39 South Pleasant Street in the Bradford
District. She attended Cogswell and Greenleaf schools and
Haverhill High School, graduating with the class of 1936.
That summer she worked at the resort summer hotel Asquam
House on Squam Lake in New Hampshire, where she met Lowell
W. Curtis of Rockland, MA. They were married on March 13,
1937 in the old North Parish Church of Haverhill, MA and
Plaistow, NH. Lowell had been working in the great hotels
for many years – in the south during the winter and in the
north during the summer. She went with him to Pinehurst, NC,
Michigan and finally New York City, where they stayed until
1942, when they returned to her family home in Bradford.
There they raised their four children.
She was very active in both the school PTA’s and cub
scouting, Rainbow and DeMolay when her children were
involved in those activities. When the youngest child was in
middle school, she went to work at the Mitchell & Co.
Department Store on Merrimack Street, working in the Boy’s
Department until the late 1960’s, at which time she went
to work in the Accounting Department of the Faulkner
Hospital in Jamaica Plain, MA.
In 1917, she and her husband left Haverhill and returned to
his family homestead at 163 Hingham Street, Rockland, MA,
where they remained until after his death in 1977. In the
later 1980’s, she returned to Haverhill and stayed with
her youngest son’s family at the Whittier Homestead, where
they were caretakers and curators. When they moved, Phyllis
stayed on and for five years gave tours. In the
mid-1990’s, in her mid-70’s, she completely retired and
moved to the Phoenix House.
She was a Past Worthy Matron of the Fidelity Chapter #90,
Order of the Eastern Star; and a member of the Haverhill
Historical Society, Friends of the Haverhill Public Library,
the Whittier Club of Haverhill, and the national Curtis’s
Family Society; also, a past member of the People’s
Methodist Church, Unitarian, of Norwell. She was an avid
reader, aware of current events, and greatly enjoyed history
and family history. She was a descendant of many of the
early families who settled in Haverhill and Bradford. She
also loved music, particularly New Orleans-style jazz, and
travel, crossing the country alone by train many times, as
well as making a few trips to Europe.
She is survived by her four children; Karen C. Kimball of
Weymouth, MA; Lowell W. Curtis and his wife Barbara of
Holden, MA, Lawrence L. Curtis and his wife Carol of
Newfields, NH, and Howard W. Curtis of West Tisbury, MA. She
also leaves eleven grandchildren, fifteen great
grandchildren; and by her two brothers, Theodore H. Laing of
Laconia, NH and Largo, FL; and Donald K. Laing of West
Newbury, MA. She was predeceased by one grandson.
Relatives and friends are invited to the funeral Monday,
12:00 noon, at Dole, Childs & Shaw Funeral Home, 148 Main
Street, Haverhill. Private burial, next to her late husband,
will follow at Maplewood Cemetery in Rockland, MA. Calling
hours will precede the funeral from 10-12 noon. Memorial
contributions may be made to the Whittier Homestead, 305
Whittier Road, Haverhill, MA 01830.