Ken Curtis, one of America’s most talented Christian movie makers, passed away on Monday, January 3, 2011, in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Just two weeks before his death I had lunch with Ken’s son, Bill, on a visit to Pennsylvania. Of Ken’s passing Bill said just a few days ago: “The doctors gave Dad eight months when he was diagnosed with lung cancer in December 2002, but the Lord gave Dad eight years and Dad sure made the most of those eight years.”
Ken’s struggle with cancer led to some remarkable developments, including a series of videos he made to help people who were coping with this disease. In his own case he baffled the physicians. They never pronounced him cured but they could never figure out why he was still alive. Ken, as well as his family and friends, knew that God’s timing was, and is, always right. He believed each day was a gift from God and was thankful for it until the end.
His son added, upon Ken’s passing, “I am so thankful to God for a wonderful Dad. I had the blessing to work with Dad for most of my life. I had the gift of awareness that the time with Dad was most likely limited and was able to spend a lot more time with him than I would have otherwise. We enjoyed lunch together most days for the last few years. We enjoyed two trips to Israel together. I am thankful Dad got to meet his new grandson Joshua before going home. There is so much more I am thankful for.”
There will be a memorial service to celebrate the life of Ken Curtis this Saturday, January 15th, at Souderton Mennonite Church, 105 West Chestnut Street, Souderton, PA 18964, at 11:00 AM. There will be a time to greet family before the service at 10:00 AM. Souderton is in the Philadelphia area.
Ken Curtis, who also founded the Christian History Institute, was a much loved man. He had friends all over the world in many places. We once spoke about his visit with Catholic leaders and how he helped them embrace video technology when this was new to these leaders. He would help and serve anyone who loved Christ.
I am profoundly grateful for Ken’s friendship with me. I met him about two years after he was diagnosed with cancer. He routinely expressed concern about my health before I could even begin to express my concern about his own. He regularly contacted me with a word of encouragement and sent several generous gifts in support of the mission of ACT 3, even during the last year of his life.
One who worked closely with Ken Curtis over many years described him, “As a wonderful example of a man with a vision who carried that vision forward to impact the lives of people the world over. He was a wonderful filmmaker and very good friend. He will be missed on earth, but I know heaven is rejoicing that another great saint is now in the Lord’s presence.” I share the same view.
Ken and I both loved history in general, and church history in particular. Many of his video productions introduced thousands of Christians to the characters and stories of our spiritual heritage. He brought to life the story of people people like William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, C. S. Lewis and others. He filmed a great series with N. T. Wright and made a brilliant project on the Protestant Reformation with Timothy George. His series on The Apostles Creed was reviewed here in 2010. It is superb.
Ken was a founding force behind the Christian History Institute and Christian History magazine. I served on the board of Biblical Seminary with Ken and treasured the times this association allowed to us to be in conversation and prayer.
Rarely have I met a man who was more loving, considerate, kind, gentle, insightful and encouraging as Ken Curtis. I will miss him a great deal. May God expand the work of his life through his son Bill and others who will follow him in the ministry he began by faith.