Lt. Col. Curtis Otto Dehnel, USA, retired, died on April 23, 2019 in Temple, Texas after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 84.
Curt is survived by his wife of 31 years, Karen Lane Dehnel; children, Melisa Dehnel, Teresa Dehnel, David Dehnel, and Jodi Andrews and husband Tracy; his grandchildren Britney Maceyra, Patrick Uvalle and Martin Uvalle; sisters Elizabeth McKinney and Margarete Crook; and brothers Paul E. Dehnel and Robert Dehnel.
He is preceded in death by five brothers and one sister.
Curt was born on Nov. 11, 1934, the eighth child of Paul E. and Ava Lee Dehnel, in San Angelo. He graduated from San Angelo Central High School in 1953.
Curt joined the Texas National Guard while a senior in high school and in 1961 volunteered for active military duty. Serving in the U.S. Army for 25 years, his assignments included Fort Polk, Louisiana; the Panama Canal Zone; two tours in Vietnam (Special Forces); Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Sam Houston; Indonesian Embassy; and two assignments to Fort Hood.
During his military career, Curt was awarded several medals including the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Basic Airborne Badge, Air Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star.
Curt attended college at night throughout his Army career, receiving a Bachelor of Science in social psychology and later a Master of Science in management.
After his military retirement he was employed by a defense contractor in Virginia, and taught for both Central Texas College and Texas A&MCentral Texas. One of his most sought-after personal goals was realized when he became a licensed civilian pilot.
Curt’s hobbies included flying, photography, tinkering with sports cars and raising goats. He was an active member of Naruna Baptist Church where he attended 28 years.
A memorial service is scheduled for May 10 at 10 a.m. at Naruna Baptist Church. Burial with military honors will be at the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery at 1 p.m.