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Curtis E. “Sarge” Sousa, age 83, of Greenville, passed away early Friday morning, May 25, 2012 at Spectrum Health-United Hospital, Greenville. The son of Thomas F. & Christine C. (Burris) Sousa, he was born on October 3, 1928 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Curtis left home as a teenager to work as a cabin boy aboard the “Milwaukee Clipper” on Lake Michigan. During World War II he served in the Merchant Marines, which was federalized into the U.S. Coast Guard during the war, and sailed on the vessels “Bushy Run”, “Carleton Ellis”, and “Fort Cheswell” in the Atlantic war zone. He then enlisted in the United States Army where he served as a military policeman as part of the Army of Occupation in Japan, and later served in Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska as part of the air defense command.

Following his discharge, he married the former Barbara Huttenlocker, in 1948, and they later divorced. He worked for the Goodyear Corporation before joining the Michigan National Guard, where he eventually became a full-time guardsman, attaining the rank of Sergeant First Class, serving as First Sergeant. After his career with the National Guard, Curtis worked for the Michigan Dept. of Corrections as a cook at the Michigan Reformatory in Ionia, and then as a chef at golf clubs in the Greenville and Belding areas. In 1972, he married the former Betty J. (Wells) Wilcox. He received his culinary arts certificate from Montcalm Community College and was an excellent chef who enjoyed cooking and baking for others. In later years he worked as a security guard at the former Gibson Refrigerator Company.

Proud of his military service to his country, Curtis was a member of both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, in addition to being a long-time member of the Masonic fraternity, where he was past master of Trufant Lodge No. 456 F&AM, a member of Greenville Lodge No. 96 F&AM and as well as the Valley of Grand Rapids Scottish Rite and a Noble of the Saladin Shrine Temple. Curtis was a member of Greenville Community Church and enjoyed participating in the Bible study group at Friendship House.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his step-father, Edwin Bartz; a brother, Thomas Sousa; a daughter, Kimberly Woodson; a great-grandson, Hunter Sousa; and a step-son, Wayne Wilcox. Surviving are his wife of 40 years, Betty J. Sousa; his two sons, Doug Sousa of Ionia, and Keith (Mary) Sousa of Taylor; a a step-daughter, Judy (Steve) McIntire of Sand Lake; brother, J. Phillip Sousa of Green Bay, Wisconsin; a sister, Sharon Diaz of Ionia; seven grandchildren; many great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 31, 2012 at Greenville Community Church, 6596 S. Vining Road, Greenville, with the Rev. Joel Heron officiating. Military honors, rendered by the U.S. Army, will conclude the ceremonies and a luncheon will follow. Honoring Curtis’ wishes, cremation has taken place and burial, with Masonic committal rites, will take place privately at Coral Cemetery at a later date.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Curtis’ online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit: Arrangements are entrusted to the Christiansen Funeral Home & Cremation Center, honored providers of Veterans Funeral Care.


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1 Condolence

  1. Anonymous on May 25, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Hansen Vision Center

    Betty and Family,

    We were sorry to learn of Curtis’ passing. Our condolances to all his family and friends.

    Dr. Rocky Hansen, Dr. Anne Pfeffer and Staff



    Karen Baird

    My sympathy to your family. Curtis was very active while living his later years at Friendship House. He will be missed.



    Mike & Vel Moore

    Curt was a very good friend and neighbor of ours when we lived in the Coral area. We are so very sorry to hear of his passing and too late to have made the funeral.
    Curt had a life time of many adventures and shared his love of life with all he came in contact with.
    Curt and Betty always had a special place in our hearts.
    With us living down the road and stopping in to fix your satellite and television problems was never a bother because of the great conversation and a cup of coffee. You are in our prayers and in our hearts.



    Maureen Cox

    My sincere condolances to everyone in Curtis’ & Bettys family. I’ve known them both through OES, Masons dinners & breakfasts and the Flea Market. We’ve miss them both at our Star meetings in Trufant and the flea mkt. Judy & Steve live a few miles from my home near Sand Lake. You are all in my thoughts & prayers.



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