Culver Business Leader Curtis Reis Dies at 79
Curtis Sanford Reis June 15, 1934 - February 25, 2014
March 13, 2014
Chamber Leader and former head of Culver City-based Alliance Bank Curtis Reis was a global traveler to seven continents, lifelong sports enthusiast and a man committed to social justice.
Reis, 79, passed away on February 25 from complications of heart failure.
Curtis, a kind, loving and generous man devoted to family, friends and colleagues, was born June 15, 1934 in New York City. He was the son of L. Sanford Reis and Josephine Mills Reis. He grew up in and around Ridgewood, New Jersey, and in Brooklyn Heights during World War II.
Curtis attended Poly Prep Country Day School and graduated from Ridgewood high school. Among his many achievements at Ridgewood High, he was captain of its varsity tennis State Championship team, and he went 34-0 as a player.
Curtis attended Cornell University, graduating in 1956 with a degree in Economics, and from Rutgers University's Stonier School of Banking in 1966. He served in the United States Army in Fort Dix, New Jersey from 1957 to 1959.
A lifelong banker, Curtis worked for The Bankers Trust Company from 1956 to 1980, rising to the position of Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Bankers Trust New York Corporation. He joined Crocker Bank in 1980 and was a Senior Vice President.
In 1986, Curtis became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alliance Bank headquartered in Culver City until his retirement in 2009. Curtis was active in the banking community.
He served as Chairman of the Domestic Lending Council of Robert Morris Associates, a national association of bank lending and credit officers. He also served for many years as a Director of the California Bankers Association (CBA) and as its Chairman from 2002 to 2003. In 2008, he was honored as its "Distinguished Banker of the Year."
Curtis considered Cornell a defining element in his life. He is one of a long line of Cornellians that include both of his parents, his sister, brother-in-law, daughter, niece and grandson. Curtis remained active in Cornell throughout his life. He was President of the Class of '56 from 1959 to 1981.
In 1968 he co-founded Cornell's Adult University, one of the first of its kind and a model for similar programs at other universities. In 1983, he was elected a Trustee and remained a Lifetime Trustee Emeritus.
He also served on the Cornell University Council, College of Arts and Sciences Council, Athletics Advisory Council, Tower Club National Committee and the Boards of the Cornell Clubs of Greater New York and Southern California.
He received the Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award in 2000.
Many of Curtis' summers--from his boyhood years accompanying his grandmother through his later years with children and grandchildren--were spent at the Chautauqua Institution engaged in intellectual, artistic and athletic pursuits.
Among his many civic activities, Curtis was President of the Upper Ridgewood Tennis Club, Chair of the Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey, Chair of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, President of the Jack Kramer Tennis Club in Rolling Hills Estates, and a Board member of the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes Peninsula and the California Council for Economic Education.
Curtis was a prolific traveler. He took three around the world trips and visited more than 60 countries over the course of his life, including such far flung places as Borneo, Bhutan, Iran, Afghanistan, New Guinea and Namibia.
Curtis loved to write stories and poems that reflected his many passions and mischievous sense of humor. He was a lifelong philanthropist and an advocate for giving back to one's community. He was actively engaged, civically and intellectually, a strong believer in fairness and equity, and a mentor to many.
Curtis is survived by his wife of 35 years, Pamela Petre Reis, three children, Blythe Reis, Perryn Reis Rowland and Kyle Reis, six grandchildren, and a sister and brother-in-law, Dale and Dick Johnson.
Contributions may be made in Curtis' name to one of the following: Cornell University Athletics c/o John Webster Teagle Hall, Campus Road Ithaca, NY 14853-6501 (For the "Curtis Reis Fund for Big Red Tennis") or UCLA Kidney Exchange Program c/o Keri Eisenberg UCLA Dept of Urology 924 Westwood Blvd. Suite 1000 Los Angeles, CA 90095-1771 (In memory of Curtis S. Reis) –