Local 100 Mourns Curtis Johnson, Telephone Maintainer

His death left his friends and co-workers in Line Equipment/Signals stunned and saddened. “Curt was well liked; an easy-going guy with an upbeat attitude and a very caring disposition for his co-workers,” said Pernell Valdivieso, LE/S Section Chair for Telephone Maintainers.  “He was ‘this close’ to breaking out in the music business,” Pernell said as he held his thumb and forefinger an inch apart.  “Curt had the same passion for his music as he had for his job.  He knew what he was doing,” added Pernell.  “No one can understand how this could happen to such a wonderful person.”

Another friend, LE/S Division Recording Secretary Sherlock Bender sadly recalled first meeting Brother Johnson at his orientation in 2014.  “I met him again at West 53rd Street and discovered we shared Georgetown, Guyana as our hometown. I also found out that he had a budding music career and a collection of YouTube music videos. When I received word of his death, I was in total disbelief,” added Bender.  “I reached out to some of his close friends and supervisors, who all expressed their shock not only of his death but how he died. One of his supervisors said that he had just worked with him on a circuit last Friday and expressed his sadness that he would never be able to work with him again.  Our Brother was dedicated to his family and a very hard worker.  The Telephone Department and the NYCTA have suffered a tragic loss.”

A talented singer and writer, Brother Johnson established his own label, Roll Out Records or ROR.  The Guyana Chronicle published a profile of Brother Johnson in March 2021, where it reported what he said about his music: “I remember the great Bob Marley talking in an interview about the feelings you get when you make music and I’ve experienced that feeling from writing, so I do write my own songs and I also write for other artists as well.” That news profile said that one of his dreams was to build a studio back home in Georgetown.  Johnson said he wanted to help discover other local young artists “so that Guyana’s music can have a quality that’s accepted and loved internationally.”

He is survived by his wife, Shenelle and their 5-year-old daughter.  Arrangements are pending and will be published as soon as they become available.