They Started in Erie
By Ginny Tonkin staff blogger
They Started in Erie celebrates those successful stars who've lived and started out in our big, little town.   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: July 6th, 2010
Remembering the past–local hero lived to serve

They Started in Erie: In celebration of the historical weekend, this edition of They Started in Erie celebrates a figure from local history.

Charles A. Curtze, Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy

Rear Admiral Charles A. Curtze

Who’s who: Charles A. Curtze

Why care: A Rear Admiral in the United States Navy serving from 1933-1965, Curtze was a dynamic, accomplished individual, whose biography reads like a review of 20th Century history.

Erie Link: Born and raised in Erie, Curtze also returned to Erie, living in Millcreek until his death in 2007.

Early education: Graduated from Central High School in 1928, and class of 1933 at the United States Naval Academy.

Olympic almost: This US gymnastics team qualifier for the 1936 Munich Olympic Games was prevented from traveling to Hitler’s Germany as a member of the US Navy.

Pearl Harbor Hero: Curtze helped to lead the USS St.Louis to safety out of Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack in 1941. The St. Louis was one of the only major ships that survived the attack.

Historic first: Part of the first NATO team, Curtze served as the first engineering member in London.

Duty and honor: Curtze resigned during the zenith of his naval career as the Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C. Along with Rear Admiral William A. Brockett, the Bureau’s Chief, the pair left in protest of the political abuses at the Pentagon during the Vietnam War.

Life full of service: Curtze passed in 2007, in his home in Millcreek. A member of the Erie Historical Society ‘s Honor Roll, Curtze was recognized in 2008 for his philanthropic contributions to the organization and Erie community.  Curtze is also on the Erie Hall of Fame’s list of “100 People Who Matter.”

Want to learn about local History? Take a stop at the Erie Historical Society on State Street, or visit one of their four historic house museums. You can discover how your family “Started in Erie” by visiting the Blasco Library’s Heritage Room on the second floor.

You pick the profile: Contact Ginny Tonkin at to nominate someone for They Started in Erie.

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