Sparks Fly: Curtis Willems

Mylee Mayne, Reporter

Sparks Fly: Curtis Willems

By: Mylee Mayne


In small-town Parsons, KS a soaring hawk could be found, Curtis Willems. The town of Parsons is your usual developing city in the 1800s, with tall rectangular buildings, simple clothing, railroads, and most importantly farmlands. Because of this, Willems’ childhood was full of good, honest work and beautiful memories with his grandfather which led to the “planting” of his love for agriculture. Willems enjoyed growing up on a farm; the fresh air, the gritty dirt, and the active livestock. He especially enjoyed his time with his grandfather. Since his grandfather was living with them when he was younger, he was able to grow close to him. He even keeps a small memory of him today, a homemade tool to pick up staves. Staves are big, heavy concrete blocks that interlock to build a Silo. A silo is a tall, circular structure that is used to store materials. 

As he grew older his love for agriculture only became stronger. Going into junior high he started raising animals and getting increasingly involved with farming. He soon joined 4H  which is FFA(Future Farmers of America) for younger kids.  He soon enrolled in Parsons Senior High School where he was made into the man he is today. 

According to Willems, he has “kind of been just a rolling.” Willems wasn’t the best student, but for what he did know he knew well. He was inspired by his agriculture teachers to join competitions, get more involved, and eventually become a state FFA officer for Kansas. He may be known as a farmer, but through FFA Willems proved he was capable of much more! 

When Willems was in his junior year of high school he took a class called “Building and Trade.” The students started with an empty lot and ended with a complete home. While he was in the class he learned how to fix roofs, porches, and everyday accidents. Sometimes He even got into mischief

 He soon graduated high school and went to college on a scholarship for livestock judging for a local, community college then transferred to Kansas State where he changed his degree to education. He worked throughout college doing odd jobs like construction and tractor driving. He promptly got his degree and was ready to take on the world. 

In 1987, he started his first year of teaching. This may not be the start of his career, however, this was the beginning of a new chapter in his life. Willems started teaching in Columbus, KS with a total of 25 students. As the years went on the agricultural department was thriving again with the 3rd year ending with around 180 students total.
His life in Kansas was joyful until an unexpected problem arose. His son was unfortunately diagnosed with RSV. (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which could present as the flu, which in a lot of cases could be lethal. It is unknown what exactly caused his son’s flareups, but after spending 6 weeks in Arizona and no RSV flareups it was decided, they sold the farm and moved to Arizona. When a door closes a window opens. 

Willems’ advice after over 40 years of living is,” Always do your best, Always work hard, and Always do it right the first time” Willems focused on and emphasized the three A’s. After his career in education, he will follow wherever the wind may take him. Wherever the wind may take him he will always be that wise, hardworking fellow. 

Photo taken by Mylee Mayne, cc, to share and remix Photo by Mylee Mayne, cc to share and remix Photo by Mylee Mayne, cc to share and remix Photo by Mylee Mayne, cc to share and remix photo by Mylee Mayne, cc to share and remix.