Our friend has passed on – Hugh Curtler, teacher, coach, friend

I learned from our US expat friend in Ecuador, Lisa Brunetti, who writes under “Playamart – Zeebra Designs and Destinations,” that our blogging friend Hugh Curtler had passed away. Our mutual friend Jill Dennison has a wonderful tribute post, including pictures and links to some of his later posts. Lisa has added a terrific tribute as well, including a You Tube link. A link to both tributes are below.

Here is how Hugh defined himself in his “About” page:

Hugh Mercer Curtler is a retired academic who taught philosophy and Humanities (Great Books) for 41 years in three different colleges and universities, his final 37 years being spent at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota. In addition to teaching full time, he founded and directed Southwest’s honors program and, for fifteen years, coached their championship women’s tennis team. To this point he has published thirteen books and numerous articles and reviews in professional journals. His successful coaching career led to induction in university and conference Halls of Fame plus the USTA Northern Hall of Fame; in 2006 he became Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Southwest.

Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, Hugh spent his early years on the East Coast before moving to the Midwest where he supplemented his academic work with avid reading and careful observation of the world around him. Hopefully, his blogs will reflect his wide range of interests.”

If I defined Hugh in a few words it would be “teacher, coach, friend.” Here is a note I posted on Jill’s tribute post to add to her words.

“Jill, this is a wonderful tribute to our friend. As you may recall, it was Hugh that sent me your way, saying I think you will like what this person writes about. He was ever the philosopher (but not pretentious), professor and coach. We bloggers did not fully appreciate the tennis coaching side of his persona. Without preaching it, I learned a lot about philosophy and great literature from Hugh.

He also was a staunch supporter of the environment, even inviting me to co-write an article for a magazine on perceptions of lay people on the environment and renewable energy. My first reaction to his invitation was ‘Hugh I don’t think I am qualified to write this,’ but he insisted for its purpose, I was. I would not have done it without his push and co-authorship.

Finally, his comments on other blogs will be missed. I always looked forward to what the professor might add, taking some pleasure if he agreed with my post or supported my comment. I wish your other readers who do not know Hugh’s work will check these suggested posts out. Thanks, my friend, Keith”

Please check out these wonderful tributes to Hugh. He will be missed, but maybe we can help his words to live on.


36 thoughts on “Our friend has passed on – Hugh Curtler, teacher, coach, friend

  1. I am sorry to hear that. I did not know him but to tell from your words he must have been a wonderful, intelligent, and versatile person. You created a beautiful tribute to honor your friend.

  2. A wonderful tribute, my friend! It’s odd … we haven’t heard from Hugh for a year or so, but I always thought he’d be back. Knowing he won’t be has made me incredibly sad. Thanks for your kind words about him and for providing a link to my own tribute. We will miss Hugh … he was one of the best!

  3. Hi Keith – Yours is a very beautiful tribute, and we have all learned a little more about the various facets of his life – especially how modest he was about the tennis details. If he mentioned the USTA Hall of Fame recognition, I somehow missed it.
    He was a very kind, patient, selfless person – always focusing on the other person, and always trying to coax the best out of us. I’m curious about the article he coaxed out of you – is there a link?
    Don Ostertag said in the comments: ” Here in the Twin Cities his death was given a lot of press and very much comments of love. ”
    It will take us a while to adjust to the news; as it is said, ‘It’s easier to move on than to be left behind,’ and we know that his spirit zoomed to that white light where he was greeted with, “Good Game!’ by our #1 Coach.

    • Lisa, thanks for the link to his interview. I am glad Hugh got good press in the Twin Cities area. I am going to have to dig out that article. It was about eight years ago. Keith

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful man. The blog community is an amazing place to meet people from all over and ones who can become our friends and teach us things. Sorry about his passing. Always sad to lose a friend!

    • Joy, many thanks. You are so right about our community. We spoke of getting together, but the pandemic got in the way. I am sorry we never got the opportunity. The same thing happened with a blogging friend named Larry Paquette. I have met three bloggers, which was very nice. Keith

      • So sorry you didn’t get to meet Hugh or Larry in person. It is awesome meeting fellow bloggers. I have also had the pleasure of meeting 3 bloggers and really hoping that I can meet more!
        If you ever come up East, you are more than welcome to stop in! 🙂

      • Joy, it is indeed a treat to meet up. One visit was with a friend from Australia who was visiting the country and we worked out a meeting place near where she was traveling. My wife joined me for that one and one in Tampa when we visited our niece. Remind me of where you are in the East. We have relatives in CT and ME. Keith

    • Amanda, he was. I think you would have enjoyed his style. I learned a lot when he would use examples from literature or philosophers I had not read. Keith

      • Yes. Click on the link to Jill’s blog at the bottom of the post and she has four or five links to samples of Hugh’s work.

      • I particularly noted this part of one of Hugh’s post linked by Jill: “..one of the most insidious factors in the brave new world in which we live is the entertainment industry. I have come to fault that industry, among others, for many of the ills of present-day society. It creates a make-believe world that invites people to escape from reality which, generally speaking, they have a weak hold upon to begin with. And that hold weakens as time goes by. This has allowed so many people to buy into a flawed presidential candidate who promised them the power they feel when they play video games, folks who feel a deep need to build up their tottering self-esteem as they admire a president they can identify with and attend occasional religious ceremonies that assure them they are really good people.”

      • Amanda, you selected an excellent thought of Hugh’s which is an exemplar. Knock around on his blog a little if you have time. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      I concur with Roger. What a lovely tribute to Hugh you have presented here for us! Indeed, I agree with you about what you wrote in a note that you posted on Jill’s tribute post. I have also submitted a comment to Lisa’s blog addressing both Lisa and Jill as follows:

      Dear Lisa and Jill,

      What both of you have blogged about and commented on our mutual friend Hugh since his passing has been highly commendable. Hugh will definitely continue to be missed by those who knew him well. His essence will live on in his ways and charms that touched our hearts and minds.

      I am grateful that Hugh had the generosity to interact with so many of us amicably. I have specifically mentioned him in my expansive and highly analytical post entitled “The Quotation Fallacy“, which you can easily locate from the Home page of my blog. Where I mention him is near the end of the first section of the post titled Introduction: Fostering Quotational Excellence. For whatever reason(s), “The Quotation Fallacy” happens to be my most popular post, for it has garnered about 240 comments and 740 likes. I am very honoured that one of the comments there originated from Hugh.

      To my delight, he also submitted a comment to my post entitled “🦅 SoundEagle in Best Moment Award from Moment Matters 🔖🏆“.

      I had been diligently reading a large number of his blog posts, which became more infrequently published as his health deteriorated. I hope that his blog will remain accessible to the public in perpetuity, for it is one of the greatest testaments to the intellect and humanity of an unassuming and kindly scholar. He is definitely a person who would have been liked by another recently deceased scholar, Edward Osborne Wilson, to whom my post entitled We have Paleolithic Emotions; Medieval Institutions; and God-like Technology is dedicated.

      Thank you very much, Keith, for what you have composed here regarding Hugh Curtler, our teacher, coach and friend whom we shall always remember with fondness.

      Yours sincerely,

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