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August 24, 2004

A Marine Corps Baby Shower

Early last April, the 6th ESB in Portland laid to rest one of their own, Sgt. Curtis Jones. Yesterday, Marines, friends, family members, and co-workers gathered to remember Curtis and celebrate the impending birth of his son to his beloved wife, Bobbi. There were both tears and laughter. There was a huge Curtis-sized hole in the room but knowing that Bobbi will soon give birth to baby Devan is a blessing that will help heal this family.

Several months ago, Marine Mom Janise e-mailed LtCol Thomas of the 6th ESB, asking if she could hostess a baby shower for Bobbi. While the image of "baby shower" and "Marine Corps" do not often occur in the same thought, LtCol Thomas immediately responded and shared the idea with two of his officers. The next day, the Inspector Instructor, Major Larson, replied that "baby showers are absolutely a Marine thing" and in true USMC fashion immediately delegated the task to the best (wo)man for the job - his wife Wendy.

For the past six weeks, Wendy, Janise, Claudia Jones (Curt's mom), and Gayle Roberts (Bobbi's stepmom) have been working hard to plan the shower. And here's how it tuned out:

Bobbi and her friends.
The banana poppyseed cake was beautiful and delicious too.
LCpl David Martin and Bobbi discuss the differences and similarities of bottle warmers and hand puppets.
Gayle Roberts (Bobbi's stepmom), Wendy Larson (Major Larson's wife and shower organizer), and Deb Bruns (Gold Star Marine Mom to Cedric Bruns).
Bobbi and Claudia Jones (Curt's mom) looks on as Janise reads one of the cards.
Sgt. James Miller with wife Rebecca and son Caleb; Robert Roberts (Bobbi's dad), Bobbi, and Capt JR Rinaldi (6th ESB Commanding Officer)
LCpl David Martin works on a project with two pint-sized helpers.

Bobbi was showered not only with gifts but with love from her extended Marine Corps Family. While Curtis is gone, little Devan will have a battalion of uncles that will step in, as Marines always have, to care for their own. Once a Marine Corps Family, always a Marine Corps Family.

For those of us who did not know Curtis, we can get a glimpse of his personality by reading this eulogy, written by his mother, that was read at his funeral:

The World Became Brighter When You Were Born
By Claudia Jones

Curtis was a son, brother, husband, and soon to be a father. He lived to the fullest with every ounce of joy that could be found in life. He knew no stranger and gave his friendship and smiles freely.

Always strong and determined, Curtis entered this world one brilliant morning on July 21, 1971 at Fort Sam Houston Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

From Texas, Curtis and his family moved to New Mexico, where he spent his days in the sun playing with his brother and close friends. There was never a slow day for Curtis; it was moving in the fast lane no matter what he was doing. He learned to run instead of crawl and kept going from that day. In New Mexico, Curtis learned to love the out doors, camping, hiking, and learning about nature.

This love of the out doors continued when Curtis moved to Laramie, Wyoming where he would spend the majority of his childhood. Fond memories surrounded his life in Wyoming. There, his life became richer from being with nature and any thing fast.

The family continued to hike during all seasons and types of weather, tent camping turned into the joy of back packing and fishing. Curtis loved to sit outside the tent at night with his dad and brother, Mike, and star gaze. That is why you would see a telescope in his dorm room or apartment. The love of adventure and nature followed him.

While in Wyoming, Curtis became a trail bike rider. Since you can ride a trail bike on and off the streets with a license at 14, Curtis spent many afternoons and days just exploring the country and mountain areas around his home. Sometimes going farther than his parents realized.

This sense of adventure and daring kept going through his high school years, where he was involved in track and swimming. Curt may not have been the fastest swimmer, but he had determination to keep going and do his hardest to complete what he started.

When Curtis moved to Vancouver, Washington his senior year, he did it with no regrets at leaving his old life and moving into the unknown. He saw this move as an adventure ? to learn about new things, places and people. Never did he once regret the move or complain. With the move came finding new friends at Mt. View High School where he graduated in 1989 and at work ? selling shoes at the Jantzen Beach Foot Locker during his senior year.

College again proved to be an adventure and again find new friends. Determined to pay his way, Curtis used his love of swimming to work as a lifeguard at the Camas pool, teach swimming to children at several Vancouver athletic clubs, work at Good Samaritan Hospital as an aide helping elderly and disabled patients in water therapy. He attended several junior colleges before receiving an associate?s degree from Clark College in Arts and Science. At Mt. Hood Community College, Curtis was chosen to work as a business intern and lifeguard at Disney World in Florida where he attended business classes and graduated from ?Mickey U?, as Curtis called it.

Taking his love of politics and adventure, Curt attended Western Washington State University in Bellingham. There, he continued his joy of the water by joining the sculling and university crew teams. He was also a dorm representative and started a weekly letter to inform the students about the campus activities and their rights. This letter earned Curtis an award for his efforts.

While in Bellingham, Curtis joined the Marine Reserve. His love of adventure was met with his joy of being with his fellow Marines and feeling of doing something to help others. Of course, it did not hurt to be able to drive BIG trucks and go to exotic, far away places for two weeks. The exoticness lessened after two trips to the desert of California.

Curtis loved going overseas and working with his unit building schools, hospitals, roads and bridges for the under privileged people.

When Curtis returned to Vancouver, he began working at Starbucks. During his work history, he helped open more than 5 new Starbucks and train even more new employees. Curt met each day with a challenge and determination.

It was Curt?s determination, smile, warmth and ?sparkling blue? eyes that won the attention and heart of his wife, Bobbi one day in October at 164th Starbuck. Bobbi was studying for a promotion and, as Curtis would say, talking on her cell. She motioned to him that it was cold in the coffee shop, and being a dashing young knight, he rescued her with a cup of hot water with a note for her to use it as a hand warmer. This kind act soon turned into love.

The love grew faster than either of them expected. By the time Curtis?s Marine Reserve unit was activated for Iraq in the end of January, they had decided that they would spend their life together.
Bobbi would wait for Curt?s return from duty.

Curtis?s return came sooner than any of us expected. It started with a call from a doctor?s office with important and private results from a test. This test result would tragically ask for more determination than Curtis had ever experience. A call to the Red Cross stopped Curt?s deployment and brought him home and a change in life.

Curtis and Bobbi?s bond grew, and by June, each decided that they could not live without the other. There was no reason to search any longer; love had been found for each of them.

Within four weeks a wedding was planned. Days and nights were spent working out the details. Curtis helping to make table decorations with Bobbi and his parents late into the night on his parent?s patio.

The day of the wedding proved even more joyful than either expected. The chosen harp music played throughout the day and night expressing their love.

This love kept strong while waiting for details of Curtis?s illness, his stem cell transplant, and his hospital stay. We all felt that the transplant would bring health and happiness.

Health and happiness would not happen. Even with Curtis?s deep desire and determination to beat the odds of his disease, it did not occur. Through out his hospital stay, he was loved and cared for by his wife, parents and hospital staff. His warmth and thoughtfulness showed in his smile and kind words for others. He never complained about his pain - just the hospital food. When Curtis left us Sunday, April 4, 2004, he was mourned by more than just his wife, family and friends, the hospital staff and doctors, also, felt this loss.

We had hoped for a miracle and that Curtis?s determination and strength would keep him with us, but it wasn?t to be. His smiles, humor, love and deep, blue eyes will always be in our memory and in his and Bobbi?s child that will be born in October.

Curt, we will love you always.

Posted by Deb at August 24, 2004 04:34 AM


The greatest of gifts one can give.... life and living it to the fullest... We have US Marines on this task daily! I know little Devan will have his father's legacy before him and love surrounding him. God Bless you Bobbi and Family!

Posted by: Janise , USMC Mom at August 24, 2004 07:40 PM

Sorry. I am wiping my tears. What a beautiful life and remembrance! I am so glad to see the Marines step in and help. Our nation is in good hands and hearts, and I hope we will always be worthy of such.

Posted by: La Femme Crickita at August 27, 2004 05:57 AM