Celebration of Life
Obituary of Robert Kurtz
Robert Hayden “Bob” Kurtz
Hudson, NY – Robert Kurtz passed into rest on December 6th, 2017 at age 81. He was surrounded by loving family – daughter Bonnie, wife Ann, sister Patricia Carson, and grand-daughter Annie – after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Predeceased by his parents Bernard Kurtz and Winifred Hayden of Avon, NY and sister Betty Jane Kurtz of Fairport, NY, Bob is survived by his brother Rusty (Sonny), sister-in-law Jean Steinmetz, sons Robert Thomas and Matthew (Kim), cousins, a niece, nephews, grandchildren, great grandchildren, near-family, and life-long friend Larry Van Allen.
Born in Rochester, NY, Bob was the oldest of four siblings. He graduated from Avon Central School in 1954 and received his Associate’s in Auto Business Management from General Motors Institute in 1956. With a passion for motor sports and a happy-go-lucky sense of humor, he ran a car called “The Turtle” in drag races around the Genesee Valley region before marrying his wife, Annabelle Thomas, in 1958. He worked his way through college at Geneseo, obtaining his Bachelor’s in 1963. He subsequently taught math at Caledonia-Mumford Central School, then returned to farming and the auto industry, first out of Buffalo, NY as an accounts auditor for General Motors, then in Watertown, NY as an automotive dealer, and then in Harrisburg, PA as a purchase agent for other dealers. In Buffalo, he served as the president of two school boards. In Watertown, he was active with the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary International.
Bob’s never-ending energy, gregarious nature, and entrepreneurial spirit had him involved in many simultaneous ventures. He promoted and managed the tractor pull at the New York State Fair for several years (the largest pull east of Ohio), owned a pull-truck that won the National Tractor Puller’s championship for its class in 1980, and ran two small farms. It seemed he would only sit down in order to eat a meal, run some numbers, or watch a race or basketball game.
Bob and Ann loved to travel around the country. Bob frequently took the family camping when the kids were young and, to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, took Ann to the Cape May peninsula. They established a successful kennel of St. Bernards and participated in the AKC dog-show circuit. The couple fixed up three beautiful old houses over the course of his life. Without hesitation, Bob joined Ann in opening the home they had made to Fresh-Air children, an international student, neighbor friends, and several beloved household animals. He will be missed.
Mass service will be held on Saturday, December 9th at Saint Boniface, 330 Gregory Street, Rochester, NY 14620 from 1-2pm. Following mass, friends and family are invited to join in a Celebration of Life from 3-6pm at The Timber Room, Wegmans, 1750 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14610. Internment will be at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s name may be made to the Dale Jr Foundation (www.thedalejrfoundation.org) or PBS (www.pbs.org).
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