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Robert Curtis Petrey April 23, 1939 – Dec. 7, 2017

Celebration of Life


Robert "Curtis" Petrey was born April 23, 1939, in Petrey, Ala., to Charlie Winford and Maybell Campbell Petrey. He graduated from Luverne High School, in Luverne, Ala., in 1958. He married the love of his life, Mary Magdalene "Maggie" Sasser of Brantley, Ala., on July 11, 1959, and later traveled to Boron, Calif., where they would reside for the next thirty-one years. He was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by Maggie and their four children: Brad of Boron, Calif., Sheryl Petrey Clark of Boron, Calif., Jeff (Linda) of Barstow, Calif., and Lindy Petrey (Rob) Noriega of Bakersfield, Calif. He is also survived by his sister, Irene (Joe) Ketchum of Ft. Mohave, Nev .; and brothers-in-law, Douglas (Virginia Rayburn) Sasser of Andalusia, Ala., and Don (Jean Moody) Sasser of Troy, Ala. He is "Papaw" to fifteen grandchildren and has several nieces and nephews.

Curtis began working for U.S. Borax in May of 1960 as a laborer and became a proud union member. During the thirty-seven years he was employed at U.S. Borax, he held numerous positions. He worked in Fusing, Transportation, the Mine, and Primary Process operations. Curtis retired Aug. 1, 1997, at the age of fifty-seven as a Plant 1 Supervisor. After being in retirement a year, he was asked to return to U.S. Borax/Rio Tinto Global, where he worked an additional year as Superintendent of Earth Moving Equipment. After retiring for the second time, he had compiled over thirty-eight years of service. He had a superior work ethic and was respected by many for his devotion to his job and employees.

In 1990, Curtis and Maggie moved to their property in Tehachapi, Calif., which they named "Oak Hill" and built their dream home, barn, and a 1941 Willys car. He always said, "I'm as close to heaven here, as I can get on earth." He was extremely proud of, and loved his family, home, and his beloved horse, T.J. He had many interests and enjoyed family gatherings, food, country music, classic cars, drag racing, tractors, and motorcycles. He lived larger than life and was always busy working on projects and was meticulous in maintaining his property.

Curtis had Southern charm, and with his drawl, could put a smile on anyone's face. He always had something warm to say, such as, "You're the honey." "You're a jewel." "You the man!" or "You're somebody!" He was a character with a witty sense of humor, and a quick comeback or rhyme often rolled off the tip of his tongue. He had great enthusiasm for life. He helped and encouraged others to always do their best and lived life with a generous spirit. Curtis was an extremely appreciative and grateful person who often gave others thanks and praise.

Curtis and Maggie celebrated fifty-eight adventurous years together, and he always said, "Marrying Maggie was the best thing I ever did!" After a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer, that lasted just a little over five months, Curtis peacefully passed at home on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, at the age of seventy-eight. He felt he had lived a fulfilling life and was known to say, "It was a hell of a ride!"

Curtis' wishes were that there be no services. For condolences please visit In remembrance of Curtis, you may consider making a donation to Hoffmann Hospice in Bakersfield, Calif., at or a charity of your choice.

Go rest high for your work on earth is done, and you will always remain the wind beneath our wings.


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