Patricia S. Curtis
Patricia Silk Curtis, 88, of Bar Harbor died peacefully at MDI Hospital on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 2022.
She was born in Bar Harbor on Jan. 19, 1934, the daughter of Hiram N. Silk and Mae Wright Silk.
Pat grew up in Bar Harbor and attended Bar Harbor High School where she was a varsity cheerleader. She married her high school sweetheart Michael Warren Curtis and, always together, they spent the next 40 years raising three sons, running a successful local business, traveling the world, and giving back their time in public service to the town they loved.
In 1951, Pat and Mike moved to the Boston area to seek their fortunes and start a family. Family was always the most important thing to Pat. Pat, Mike, and their three young sons happily welcomed Mike’s younger sister, Althea, and brother, Rod into the family after their parents died. When Pat was 27, Mike was diagnosed with a rare spinal cord disease that they were told would eventually leave him paralyzed. One of the specialists they consulted told them “With good planning, you will be able to lead a reasonably normal life”; a mantra Pat lived by and repeated often.
At the time they received this devastating news, Pat and Mike had five dependents keeping Pat busy as a housewife, and Mike was employed selling life insurance in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Pat and Mike decided that they needed a new plan which included buying a business so they could be self-employed. They chose to move back to their hometown Bar Harbor with a plan to buy the first business they could afford because they knew “their hometown people” would support them.
In 1962, Pat and Mike purchased a small shop named Sherman’s Book Store. As predicted, the town supported their efforts from the start and, working side-by-side as partners every step of the way, Pat and Mike proceeded to grow and expand the business many times over the decades. On many occasions in the 1970s and 1980s, they pushed aside the racks and hosted book signings with new local authors like Stephen King and national newsmakers such as Walter Cronkite.
From their stores in Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor and Ellsworth, Pat and Mike offered a unique selection of books, art supplies, toys and stationery to generations of families. When Mike passed away from his crippling disease in 1989, Pat, alone for the first time in 40 years, continued running their business with all the skills they had learned together, and she built Sherman’s Book Store into the Bar Harbor institution that it is today.
In addition to her business and family pursuits, Pat lived a long life of public service. She was elected to the Bar Harbor Town Council in 1977 and in 1981 she was chosen by unanimous vote of her other councilors to be the first woman to chair the Town Council. She was also the first female to serve on the Board of Directors of The First National Bank of Bar Harbor. She served many years on the MDI Hospital Board, the MDI Housing Authority Board and the Bar Harbor Garden Club. A lifetime Rotarian, in 1995 Pat became the first female president of the Bar Harbor club and proud to be named a Paul Harris Fellow. She was a familiar face at Rotary events, including the annual lobster festival on the 4th of July where she served lobster rolls for many years.
Pat enjoyed many friendships during her long life and perhaps none so special as her traveling companion Barbara Hepburn and in later life her daily companion Jerry Bouchard, until his death in 2019.
Pat was predeceased by her beloved husband and partner Mike, her parents Mae and Hiram Silk, her sisters Madeline (Silk) Doyle and Margaret (Silk) Smith, her brother Clarence Silk, her sisters-in-law Jean (Curtis) Frost and JoAnne (Curtis) Cantwell and several nieces and nephews.
Pat is survived by her sons Michael W. Curtis of Bar Harbor, Jeffrey D. Curtis and his wife Maria Boord Curtis of Boothbay Harbor, Matthew S. Curtis and his partner Julie Malloy of Bar Harbor, her sister-in-law Althea Curtis Higgins and her husband Peter Higgins and her brother- in-law Rodney Curtis and his wife Ann; grandchildren Myles S. Curtis of Brooklyn, New York, Victoria B. Curtis Jose of Falmouth, Maine, Benjamin Curtis of Bar Harbor. MacKenzie Curtis Vincent of Issaquah, Washington, Jamie Estes Bajaj of Medford,Massachusetts, and Matthew H. Curtis of Bar Harbor; great-grandchildren Ebbe and Henry Jose, Bodhi and Shiv Bajaj, Henry Malloy, and Ava Curtis as well as many nieces and nephews.
All of us who knew Pat feel grateful for the time we had together, making it particularly appropriate that she should choose Thanksgiving Day to leave us.
A graveside service will be held 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, at Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Bar Harbor. An opportunity to celebrate Pat’s life will be held at Jack Russel’s Steak House immediately following.
Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mt. Desert. Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com
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