Brother Templeman lived a life of selflessness and service, placing others before himself in every opportunity. Curtis served his fellow Americans in the US Army, fellow Iowans in the Iowa National Guard, his community as the President of the Newton Girls Softball League, his family as a devoted husband and father and his Union in many capacities including, but not limited to Veterans, Chaplaincy, and Employee Assistance Committees, Community Action Program Activist, Deere Council Delegate, Local Bargaining Committee Member, Chairperson of the Bargaining Committee at Local 450 and UAW/Deere 2021 National Bargaining Committee Member, as the Chief negotiator for Local 450 and the National Committee’s Recording Secretary. When not bargaining in the Quad Cities the last several months, Curtis was often found at Local 450’s hall or on a picket line once the strike commenced. As an active UAW Member for over 20 years, most of which at UAW Local 450 in Des Moines, Brother Curtis served in many other capacities consistently fighting for justice, equality and everything provided to members in the collective bargaining agreement. Curtis was a realist, got right to the point and was even keeled, no matter the situation. Curtis often played the important role of designated driver for his UAW siblings, having completed many years of sobriety.
Last fall, Curtis was famously featured in news stories across Iowa and beyond for his part in the successful efforts to block an injunction on picketing, heading back to Des Moines for testimony after a long day of bargaining in Moline and returning to the bargaining table immediately after. In late October, Curtis attended a Friday evening UAW Region 4 meeting in central Illinois, instead of returning home after being away at the bargaining table all week. When asked, Curtis simply said it was his responsibility as the Chairperson to attend. Even a good excuse to skip a meeting wasn’t a good excuse for Curtis.
In addition to decades of action, service and leadership as a UAW member, Brother Curtis was also a devoted husband and father. He and his wife of 20 years, Denise, agreed long ago that it was best for the family as a whole if she could focus on being a fulltime mother while Curtis secured the families finances. To do so, Curtis maintained a second job, working evenings and weekends regularly. Curtis would often bring his family to UAW Conferences and his daughters often made a lasting impression, each uniquely resembling their father’s wit, character, or mannerisms.
Curtis immersed himself relentlessly in everything he was a part of. Even when hospitalized with Covid, Curtis continued to serve UAW members, working from his hospital bed to stay engaged in bargaining matters and strike issues, despite difficulty breathing and increasing symptoms. The last time he spoke with his International Union Rep was the morning he was intubated. Curtis was about to be put under but called to demand the Members of Local 450 would have someone vote on their behalf in his absence at what was expected to be the last meeting on negotiations later that day. As it turned out, Brother Templeman never missed a vote. The strike ended with an agreement ratified on November 17th. Curtis maintained his fight against Covid long enough to ensure the UAW and Deere reached an agreement and the strike was over. Brother Templeman passed away the next day, November 18th.
Curtis is survived by wife Denise, Son Christopher, Daughters Sarah, Libby and Hannah. He would have turned 50 in December. UAW Members in Des Moines and beyond have benefited greatly from his sacrifices and join his family in mourning.