John Curteis , Master and Commander, sounds straight from the pages of Hornblower ,and could it not be said that John represented everything which is absolutely best about being British, with his devotion to Queen and country, and all the many voluntary organisations to which he dedicatedso much of his time and energy?
John was born in Inverness in Scotland in July 1941, and was educated at Radley College . Thereafter, he joined, and qualified with, the chartered accountancy firm of Whinney , Smith and Whinney;the firm is now Ernst & Young. John’s career remained in the accountancy profession and he became a partner with his firm, and subsequently ran the Cardiff office for many years, predominantly on the audit and accountancy side of the practice.
But John’s great forte was his service and involvement in so many local and national activities. In fact he is a shining example of the big society, which David Cameron has tried to encapsulate, but could never quite get across. Perhaps he should have had John as his spokesman.
John’s honorary roles included being :-commanding officer of HMS Cambria from 1988 to 1992,Vice Lord Lieutenantand High Sheriff of South Glamorgan, Commander in the RNR and president of both Barry RNA and the Porthcawl sea cadets, vice president and chairman of King George’s fund for sailors, and the Cardiff branch of the mission for sailors, officer of the order of St. John, past master of the Welsh Livery Guild, president of Cardiff chamber of commerce, and honorary treasurer of many organisations including the Prince of Wales committee, the Cardiff NSPCC, the community foundation in Wales , the RNVR benevolent fund,the Welsh centre for international affairs and the Captain Scott society. He certainly had plenty of torpedoes in his armoury!
On top of all that, and what a list from which I am fairly certain I will have missed out a few, he was of course most active as a member of our Livery company, havingjoined in 1993, served as Master in 2005/6, and more recently, as a most dedicated chairman of the Feltmaker charitable foundation .
All who came into contact with John, admired him for his decency, integrity, devotion, kindness, thoughtfulness, and the calm way in which he brought his advocacy and judgement to bear on all matters of the company and the court.
John married Fiona in 1970, and all of us who attended the memorable Cardiff weekend, when he was Master, will remember the wonderful hospitality we were shown on that occasion. John wasblessed with a most happy marriage, and they blissfully brought up three loving children, Sarah, Annabel and Robert.
I don’t know where he found the energy for it, but he also made time to enjoy his passion for sailing, as well as attending the theatre, opera, doing a bit of gardening, and the occasional round of golf. He also loved cricket and was a member of the MCC.
This Livery company was very privileged to have as one of its members, a man of John’s stature and abilities. We will all miss him greatly and our thoughts are with his widow, Fiona, and the children, and I know as many as possible will try to attend his memorial service in Cardiff on Saturday 19th. October.