Basil Curnutte, Jr.

1923 - 2008




Basil Curnutte joined our faculty shortly after receiving his PhD.  He spent his academic career as a member of the KSU Physics faculty and retired in 1988.  During his career he was someone that many of us (now senior) faculty members regularly sought out for advice. He could always be counted on to help faculty and students understand the environment of both the University and the Department.  Of course, this advice was frequently accompanied by a story or a (usually bad) joke that illustrated his point.


Certainly much of what our Department is today is a reflection of Bas' calm but persistent efforts, particularly his efforts on behalf of students.


Basil was a Fellow of the Optical Society and a former president of the Kansas Academy of Sciences.

The National Science Foundation Class of 1952

List of articles by Basil Curnutte from Google Scholar


The following was provided by Basil's Family.


Basil Curnutte, Jr., age 84, of Manhattan, Kansas died Tuesday January 22, 2008 at the Mercy Regional Health Center, Manhattan.

He was born on March 1, 1923 in Portsmouth, Ohio the son of Basil & Lula Alafare (Cooper) Curnutte. After graduating from high school, Basil entered into the United States Naval Academy. He proudly served for four years during WWII, being discharged at the rank of Lieutenant. He returned to Ohio State University and received his Ph.D. in Physics. In 1954, he began his career as an Assistant Professor of Physics at Kansas State University and was later a Professor of Physics from 1964 until his retirement in 1988.

On June 10, 1945, he was united in marriage to Mary Lukemire in Portsmouth, Ohio. This union was blessed with two sons: William and Gregory. For over 62 years of marriage, they rarely left each others side and continued their daily visits until his passing. Basil and Mary loved to travel and visit their children and grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers: Leroy, David and George; sister: Betty Jane Rothrock; and an infant grandson: Kyle Morgan Curnutte.

Survivors include his wife Mary of the home; sons: William of Portsmouth, Ohio and Gregory of Portland, OR; 4 grandchildren: Kyla Jordan Curnutte, Jennifer Anne Curnutte, Shannon Joanne Curnutte and Erin Margaret Curnutte. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and friends.

Memorial Mass Service was held on Saturday January 26, 2008 at the St. Paulís Episcopal Church, Manhattan, with Father Tom Miles officiating. Inurnment was in the church columbarium.

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Paulís Episcopal Church or to the Basil & Mary Curnutte Scholarship of Physics at the  Kansas State University Foundation.