Rene's letter read by Darrin
(Niece and Nephew of Russ Curley)

Dear Uncle Russ,

In my heart I know that you are listening and watching over us, and so I know that what I'm about to share will be heard by you.

You have always been my symbol of family. Whenever I hear the word "aunt" or "uncle" I always think of you. Whenever I hear a conversation about extended family I think of you. I have other uncles who are terrific, but because of proximity you are the one I've known the best. For me, you personify the concept of uncle. Whenever I think of you I always think of your wonderful smile, your upbeat, positive personality, and your loving and generous nature. You have always had a hug for me, whether I was three or thirty-three. In the past few years when I have lived overseas you've always made the effort to come to Bremerton for a visit when I'm home. I know that I've always said thank you when I saw you, but I hope you know how much those visits meant to me. The effort you made always touched my heart. I have memories of shared Christmases, anniversaries, and other various family events, but what I remember most is how happy you were whenever you were surrounded by family. You have been a catalyst for keeping the Curley family connected, not from any sense of obligation, but because family is truly in your heart.

I have been struggling with the idea of losing my symbol of family, but I finally found peace when I came to this conclusion: You can remain my symbol of family even if you are no longer my "connector" of family. You leave a high standard for the rest of us to follow. I have no idea if I will ever live up to that standard, but I do know that you've given me a beautiful legacy of what family can mean; one that I will always treasure and never forget.

In true Curley style I will be celebrating your life with a small cribbage tournament to be held here in Malaysia in early March. I hope that it will be the first of an annual event wherever I am in the world. And I just want you to know that whenever I hear the words "family, uncle, relatives" or anything of that nature, you will be first in my thoughts. I love you very much and I thank you for loving and caring about me. May peace be with you.