Hugh Curtler’s book, Alone in the Labyrinth…

Many in my WordPress circle are groping for solid ground today, as we adjust to the news that our friend and mentor Hugh Curtler is no longer in this realm.   For several years his health had been failing, and he mentioned a need to back away from stressful topics – a big one was politics.   He later mentioned a battle with cancer, but usually nudged the attention away from his health – and in the direction of the musings of the day.

He was a master at weaving his epistles into thought-provoking musings that made us reach deeper than the sundry layer of intellect.  I mentioned to Jill Dennison ( that “Hugh was always the lighthouse, always there, always supportive – nudging the best out of all of us and at times challenging us to reach deeper and retrieve the best of our best. He also had a subtle way of punching our buttons in good ways, and he probably snickered about that at times when we reacted!

Our contact with him was via the blogging world, and his silence stretched far too long.  We hoped for a smoke signal, but his absence from the WordPress community suggested that his was a difficult battle.   There is now one more star in the heavens, smiling down and watching over us.

For a peek into Hugh’s world, Jill shares a sensitive testimonial here:  A Short Tribute to a Good Man.   

In addition to having a masters in philosophy and being a cherished professor, he was also renown for coaching the Southwest Minnessota State College women’s tennis team. The SMSU online newsletter states, “…Curtler served as SMSU’s head women’s tennis coach for 14 seasons (1979-92), building a powerhouse program that produced 172 victories and five NAIA All-Americans.”   

The stated, “SSU’s superiority in tennis lasted for a decade as the Mustangs went undefeated in the conference from 1983-92. Overall, he had a won-loss record of 169-83. The Mustangs won 18 consecutive dual meets, in and out of the conference, from 1981-83 – a school record for all sports. They won nine Northern Sun Conference titles and 10 NAIA District 13 crowns. In 1992, SSU had a perfect conference tournament, winning every point. ”   

(The accolades stretch so far in both links that a copy/paste in entirety might border on plagiarism!)

For an old photo of ‘Coach Curtler’ on the courts with former player Martha Garzon, see the 2019 feature about the Hall of Fame honor.  SMSU Tennis – Serving up Success.

Jill and I hoped to find some old footage of Hugh playing tennis, but so far no luck.  I was pleased to find this just now – a short feature when he was honored with the (tennis) 2019 USTA Northern Hall of Fame Award:

Those of us who knew him would agree to Jill’s eloquent statement, ” Today, I am saddened by the loss of Hugh, but enriched for having known him.”

To quote my friend Giovanni, “…our friends are turning into stars in the sky…

Michael Kiwanuka’s Solid Ground serves as an appropriate song – not only for remembering Hugh, but also for the many people who are living in the hardest of times.

May our species learn to live in peace.

Our friend Keith has also written a beautiful tribute:  Our Friend has Passed On

I stated to Keith, “It will take us a while to adjust to the news; as it is said, ‘It’s easier to move on than to be left behind,’ and we know that his spirit zoomed to that white light where he was greeted with, “Good Game!’ by our #1 Coach.”