October 17, 1943 ~ May 29, 2020 (age 76)

Obituary Image


Darwin Lenard Curls, 76, passed away on Friday, May 29, 2020.  Darwin was born on October 17, 1943 to Fred and Velma Curls.  Darwin graduated from De La Salle Military Academy in 1960 and later received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Park College. Following in his father’s footsteps, Darwin lived a life of service to the Kansas City community and a career of action and advocacy.  Darwin was an active, lifelong member of Freedom, Incorporated, and was elected to public office himself when he served on the Kansas City Public School (KCPS) Board. 

He was also member of the Board of Trustees for the KCPS Retirement System. He worked at Blue Hills Homes Corporation for nearly 23 years, and also spent a time at Swope Community Builders. In 1999, Darwin continued serving the community during his tenure in Congresswoman Karen McCarthy’s office.  In 2005, he became the Director of Community Affairs for Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II, where he worked until his retirement in 2014.  Even in retirement, he continued to help Congressman Cleaver’s re-election efforts, as well as assist with the development and growth of the 18th and Vine’s American Jazz Walk of Fame.

Darwin is survived by his wife of 52 years, Sandra Curls; daughters Shalonn “Kiki” Curls and Dwana “Toi” Hirshman (Andy); son Darwin “Lenny” Curls II (Norma); grandchildren Michaela (Auston), James, Alyssa, Miles, Zoe, Leonardo, Caesar and Mason;  great-grandson Malachi; sisters Janice Parker (Frank) and Karen Curls; brother Darrell Curls (Denitta); sisters-in-law Melba Curls and Deanna Curls; and a host of nieces, nephews and other extended relatives.  He is preceded in death by his parents Velma and Fred Curls, brothers Phillip and G. Michael, and sister Millicent.

COVID-cautious visitation will take place on Friday, June 5th from 5pm – 7pm at Watkins Heritage Chapel. A virtual memorial service will take place Saturday, June 6th at 10am and can be accessed at Interment Mt St. Marys Cemetery.

To send flowers to DARWIN's family, please visit our floral store.


June 5, 2020

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Watkins Heritage Chapel
4000 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64130

Virtual Service
June 6, 2020

10:00 AM
Virtual Service
Kansas City, MO 64130

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