Wednesday, November 9, 2011

R.I.P. Curtis Speller

A few days ago I heard the terrible news that my NJIT friend Curtis Speller died of a heart attack.  From the photo above you can see that Curtis with the nickname Caz was a stand-up comic.  He tried very hard to get comedy gigs but obviously needed his day job as a custodian for NJIT.

Around 1994 Curtis was assigned to clean the library before it opened.  The library didn't open until 9 AM while Curtis would be in early to clean.  He would work with his boombox on listening to Sam Cooke music.  One day I walked over to him and and talked about Sam.  I must say that Curtis should have been appointed Distinguished Professor of Sam Cooke by NJIT.  He knew about concerts and obscure recordings and outtakes.  Felix Hernandez should have invited him to his Rhythm Revue Show on WBGO.

I was disappointed when Curtis was transferred to another building.  Over the years I ran into Curtis on the campus and continued our discussions of Sam.  Curtis gave me a few videos and burned some CDs for me.  I send my condolences to his family.  I hope that when Curtis goes to heaven he will meet up with Sam.  I am sure that if Sam had lived he would have been appreciative of Curtis's knowledge of his recordings.  Sadly both of them left this world too soon.

I'd like to dedicate to Curtis A Change is Gonna Come

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