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North Dakota World War II veteran celebrates 104th birthday

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States and Lynn Frazier was governor of North Dakota when Ray Curtis of Minot was born.

Earlier this week the World War II veteran celebrated his 104th birthday at The Wellington in Minot.

Since his birth soon to be 104 years ago, there have been 19 U.S. presidents and 22 N.D. governors.

Originally from Columbus, Curtis was born Feb. 11, 1917, at the Portal hospital.

“I imagine it was the doctor’s house but they called it a hospital,” he said.

He moved with his family to Minot in 1927 and attended the first Lincoln Elementary School (the second Lincoln School was demolished after the 2011 flood). He then attended junior high and senior high at Minot High School, now MHS Central Campus, graduating in 1935.

“It was all one building – junior high and high school,” he said.

After high school graduation, he farmed with his dad and brother until enlisting in the U.S. Army in January 1941, the Minot Daily News reported.

“They started the draft in December so I thought I’d go in. I volunteered for one year,” he said. For his first two months in the military he worked as a clerk-typist in Minot.

He had only a month left before discharge when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the Army changed his plans. Curtis and his then girlfriend Ellen, originally from Columbus, married in Reno, Nevada. He was sent from San Francisco to Texas and his wife went to Minot to stay with his parents until he was discharged from the service in December 1945.

“I served in the states most of the time,” Curtis said, adding, “I was in the states about four years and in Germany about 10 months.”

After his discharge from the Army, he farmed the family farm at Columbus. He and Ellen raised five daughters: twins Judy...





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