It is always sad when death robs you of a friend and more so at this time of year. With the passing of Tony Curtis Grace has lost one of its more colourful characters. He was our nearest member living in the Markievicz Flats a couple of hundred metres from the Hall.
Like many of us Tony was his own worst enemy and latterly gave himself a lot of hardship. His health deteriorated and he was no longer to be found in his seat on the back row of the old hall. From there he would greet the children as they arrived and usually had some sweets for them. In addition he got sponsors for the Dublin Christian Mission’s annual children camps.
It was relatively late in life when Tony became active in United Beach Missions working on both the South and West coasts of Ireland. This earned him many friends and he enjoyed the Easter Speak-outs at Grace. There he was able to renew his acquaintance with many who he has met on Mission.
When he was in good health he seldom missed being in Church and would join the lunchtime prayer group on Wednesdays. He got to know many in Christian circles where he will be missed.
He lived his whole life in Dublin 2. His father had manned the barricades during the rising in 1916 gave him an interest in the history of the place. Driving back from our Home Group through the old streets he would give a running commentary of all the events that took place there in his childhood.
He could have written a book on the place but someone else beat him to it and the book that was in his head never got written.
Instead he wrote a Christian Tract which was his testimony and penned this biographical sketch of what was essentially a lonely life. But his claim was that he had Jesus for a companion!
Lonely, But not on my own.
May, June, July and August gone again but not memorable;
Save that I saw them go past the empty quays the rivers flow.
Look at the old house, outmoded, dignified, dark and untended;
With grass growing instead of the footsteps of life, the friendliness, the strife
In its beds have lain youth, love, age and pain.
I am something like that – lonely?
But not on my own.
There was a deep sadness there but he did not dwell on it. He read a lot of Christian books, had a good library and was probably unique in the Flats in reading the Irish Times! But Tony was an alcoholic. It had robbed him of family life early on and, although through Christ he claimed to have conquered, and he had many years of sobriety, it overtook him coming back with a vengeance in the end. Tony’s favourite verse was “Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you 1 Peter Chapter 5 verse 7. May this now have come true for Tony.