Curtis V. Willig, aged 72, died on February 18, 2014 in Bolinas. He was born November 17, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, to Ida Wernick and Ben Willig. He is survived by his wife, Karen Greenblatt, and his daughter, Erica, both of Bolinas. Karen and Curt met at Lenox Hill Neighborhood Association, where they both worked for several years. They married on Valentine’s Day, 1968. Curt is also survived by a sister, Nadine Willig Anai of Stratford, Connecticut.
Curt loved Karen and Erica; boating, especially hard-to-sail boats in Raccoon Straits; biking anywhere in Bolinas and Stinson Beach; hiking uphill, especially during chanterelle season; learning to surf; dog-walking, particularly Bennie and Sadie and Dolly-Monster; chocolate of any kind, cheesecake, coffee ice cream, pizza and hamburgers; movies, especially The Thin Man; sitting at the kitchen table near the fire with a book; playing gin or hearts; donning goggles and a leather Baron Von Bismarck helmet for rides in his old green 1937 truck—when it would start.
After graduation from New Rochelle High School in 1959, Curt attended New York University, followed by Columbia University School of Social Work, where he received his MSW. As a social worker with a keen business sense, Curtis was determined to find “good jobs and good pay” for people with disabilities such as deafness and other physical, psychiatric or cognitive disabilities. He began his enterprise in San Francisco, in 1975, by negotiating a contract with Pacific Bell to repair broken tools. Hence the new agency that fixed broken tools and made them work again became known as Toolworks. More can be learned about Curt’s continuing legacy at www.toolworks.org.
Curt went on to work as vocational director at Foothill and DeAnza Colleges, as well as consulting with Hearth Homes Community Builders. He was recognized for his work with Whirlwind Wheelchairs for designing durable and highly functioning wheelchairs that performed well on rough terrain and used local materials, continuing his dedication to improving lives of people with physical disabilities in such far-off places such as Kenya, Vietnam and Laos.
Curt’s last weeks were spent in the loving care of Rosie Barry and Julio Lucas and their wonderful staff at Sam’s House in Bolinas. Donations in Curt’s memory may be made to Sam’s House, Box 401, Bolinas, CA 94924 or by using the “Donate” button (on the “About” page) at the Friends of Sam’s House website: www.foshmarin.org. Graveside Services will be on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at the Bolinas Cemetery in Bolinas, CA. Condolences at AdobeCreekFuneralHome.com 415-883-8070