Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni

Frances Curb

Frances Avritt Curb - 1983

It is a coincidental oddity that Frances Avritt Curb will be honored as a distinguished alumnus at Southwestern University 53 years to the day that she was crowned Homecoming Queen at the same institution.  Mrs. Curb is thrilled to “be able to return to my alma mater to make the same walk to the center of the field in Milam Stadium.”  The homecoming day on Oct. 22, 1930, was a gala affair for Southwestern as the then-new football field was to be used for the First time.  The Honorable William Holloway, then-Governor of Oklahoma, was present to inaugurate the new stadium. 

A native of Weatherford, Okla., Frances attended the public schools here, graduating from high school in 1928.  She completed high school in three years and was valedictorian of her senior class.  Southwestern is her college home.  Here she received a B.A. degree and the M.T. degree.  Additional graduate work in administration was completed at the University of Oklahoma.  During her tenure at Southwestern, Mrs. Curb recalls working on “The Oracle” and serving as a reporter for “The Southwestern.”  She played the lead in “Madame Butterfly,” and was a member of the Women’s Chorus and the Bull Pups. 

In 1929 she was selected Sophomore Queen.  Besides her husband Joe, of 51 years, Mrs. Curb has had four great loves to which she has given 110 percent of her life and energies: family and home, her profession and youth, Church, community and America.  Both Joe and Frances have spent their lives as educators, teaching from 1933-1942 at Lahoma and Arnett Schools in Harmon County and in Lawton from 1950-1973 when they retired.  Frances served the Lawton Schools as a teacher, elementary principal, and director of federal programs. 

During the war years, while her husband was in Naval Service, Frances was a naval aircraft inspector, examining planes doing Atlantic duty.  She also was a foreman for the Douglas Aircraft Company in Chicago, building C-54s.  In her profession as an educator, Mrs. Curb was active in many capacities at local, district, state, and national levels.  She was Southwest District OEA president and served on the Executive Committee.  Other organizations served included: president of Lawton and Southwest District Classroom Teachers, president of the Oklahoma Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and on the National Board of Directors for that organization, secretary to the Lawton and Southwest District Elementary Principal’s Association, secretary to the  Oklahoma Elementary Principal’s Association and yearbook editor for the state group, president of the Comanche County Retired Teachers’ Association, historian for the Lawton PTA Council and decorations chairman for the state conference, PTA, a member of the Board of Directors of  Southwestern Oklahoma State University Alumni Association, and a member of the AAUW, Lawton.

Six governors and two mayors have honored Mrs. Curb with appointments as follows:  Oklahoma Curriculum Improvement Commission, Oklahoma Teacher Education and Professional Standards Commission, National Teacher Education and Professional Standards Commission, Oklahoma Health Committee of the State Department of Health, Oklahoma Conference on Education, White House Conference on Education, Oklahoma Commission on Teacher Education and Certification, Governors Council on Pride in Oklahoma, and Our Heritage in America. 

Mrs. Curb enjoyed conducting workshops for teachers and was involved in this capacity throughout the in the following areas of instruction:  Teaching Disadvantaged Youth, Americanism, Character Education, Health in the Elementary School, The Living Textbook Elementary School art Activities, Our American Heritage, and Pride in Oklahoma.  These were conducted for the State Department of Education, the Governor’s Office, and the State Health Department. 

Serving on the editorial staff for the Curriculum Division of the State Department of Education, Mrs. Curb assisted in the development of the following state Teacher’s guide books:  Health Education, Drug Education, Art Education, Oklahoma History, Vocational Guidance, Nutrition, Physical Fitness, Elementary School Evaluation Manual, Pride in Oklahoma, and Our Heritage in America.  Mrs. Curb served as elementary advisor and consultant for the Daily Oklahoman. 

Involvement in activities for community improvement has been important and rewarding to Mrs. Curb.  She was chairman for a committee to sponsor a contest and select a design for a Lawton City Flag she served as chairman for Lawton’s first summer park activities for children. 

Other activities include:  Charter member of Lawton Human Relations Commission and chairman for the Social, Cultural and Recreating Committee, member of the Lawton Park Board, Lawton Block Grant Committee, Lawton Bicentennial Project, member of the Board of Directors of the Museum of the Great Plains and Long Range Planning Committee, Art Director of Lawton Women’s Forum, president of Altrusa International, sponsor of Allied Officers at Fort Sill, member of Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society, an daughters of the American Revolution where she was been active at local and stat levels.  She has been a Red Cross Gray Lady, a Den Mother, and Girl Scout Leader.  A member of the First Baptist Church, Mrs. Curb is a member of the community Service Committee.  She, in the past, has served as a Sunday school teacher, Superintendent of Departments, Church Clerk, and Scholarship Committee. 

Other honors Mrs. Curb cherishes include the Lawton Outstanding Educator Award, a Lawton city park as been named for her in recognition of service to children, listed in Who’s Who in American Women, “Two Thousand Women of Achievement, International” in 1969, and national awards from the National DAR for work with children in Junior American Citizens in 1967-69, 1972, and 1973.  Robert E. Lee School, where she served as principal for 10 years, this year established a “Frances Curb Award” which is given annually to sixth grade boy and girl who most exemplifies good character and citizenship.  The school motto while she served as principal was “Don’t wait to be a great man or woman.  Be a great kid.”

Frances passed away on January 7, 2007.