Curtis Reis ’56

Curtis Sanford Reis ’56 died on February 25 in Los Angeles, California. He had been battling a number of illnesses over the years.

A Cornell leader as a student and an alumnus, Curt was SAE Eminent Archon, chair of the Willard Straight Hall Board of Managers, head of Freshman Orientation, and a member of Quill & Dagger. From a handful of Yemeni sand he created fictional Q&D member Narby Krimsnatch, a royal sheik who became a campus legend (see YouTube: Curtis Reis and Narby Krimsnatch Finally Meet).

The Reis family legacy, with substantial contributions from Curt and his wife, Pamela, his late father and mother (Sanford and Josephine ’29), and his sister and brother-in-law (Dale ’58, Dick ’57), includes the Reis Tennis Center, Reis Family Lectureships to strengthen Arabic studies, the Jo Mills and L. Sanford Reis Scholarship Fund, the stage in the Schwartz Center’s Kiplinger Theatre, and renovation of the Fall Creek hydroelectric plant. A recipient of the Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award, Curt also co-founded Cornell Adult University (CAU) and served on the Athletics and Arts & Sciences advisory councils. Curt was a Cornell trustee and the class of ’56 president for many years. He and Pamela are listed on the Library Terrace Wall along with other Cornell Foremost Benefactors. Even in success, Curtis throughout his life remained concerned for the unemployed, uninsured, homeless, and undocumented in America.

He leaves his wonderful wife, Pamela, a son, two daughters, and six grandchildren. I hosted Curt and his family when they visited Ithaca many times, and I was his guest in Rolling Hills twice as well. My oldest memory of Curt was dinner at SAE when I was pledging in 1956. It was customary for the EA to call on one of the pledge tables to stand and sing an SAE song. Someone had told Curt that I could not carry a tune, and he tapped his glass and called on my table to stand and sing “Marching Without Demer.” He will be missed.

Ron Demer ’59

Curtis Reis ’56 was recently featured in Ezra magazine.

Click here to read the full story: “The bogus Mr. Krimsnatch ’56.”

UPDATE: Mr. Krimsnatch paid a visit to Cornell!