Don Curtis

On August 9th 2014, Arlington’s beloved Don Curtis, and “his greatest tag-team partner of all times”Dotty Curtis, were inducted into the Florida Chapter of the National Wrestling and Hall of Fame Museum in Stillwater, OK. Don & Dotty’s daughter Lisa, & grandson JB, stepped up on their behalf toreceive the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award for their commitment to wrestling. They placed Jacksonville on the map promoting wrestling at the Jacksonville Coliseum where Don was Sports Promotion & Facilities Manager. After his wrestling career, Don was inducted into the University of Buffalo Athletic Hall of Fame for wrestling and football in 1980, and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009, with tag-team partner Mark Lewin, in the “Tag Team” category.


Don & Dotty uniquely shared their love of Family and Community. Revered in the wrestling community and Arlington, they were among the Founders of Old Arlington Inc. and were “gratis” landlords for the group’s original home on Clock Street, which had housed Dotty’s Body Emporium for many years prior.

They promoted physical fitness at the Arlington YMCA, the Arlingwood Community Center, and Dotty hosted a regular segment on WFGA’s (Channel 12) TODAY Show. Don was Bishop Kenny’s Volunteer Wrestling Assistant Coach, under Coach Bill Spaulding, for the school’s first wrestling team in 1974. Don & Dotty assisted numerous charitable and civic activities. Arlington has greatly missed Don since he passed on March 6, 2008. Dotty still resides in Arlington today.

Don’s wrestling career began at the Univ. of excelled in wrestling, football and academics. After a 20 minute workout with NWA Champion Lou Thesz, Don chose wrestling as his career, and turned down an offer to attend the Baltimore Colts’ training camp. By spring, 1951, he was wrestling in Canada, then later in Australia and New Zealand, under his given name, Don Beitelman. By 1956, Don was back in the U.S. living in Buffalo, NY, and over the next decade would be featured on 1700+ pro wrestling cards, and wrestle in Madison  Square Gardens over 50 times. Don made his wrestling debut at the Jacksonville Coliseum in 1961 and changed his last name to “Curtis” in 1967. In between, legendary wrestling announcer Gordon Solie dubbed him, “The Buffalo Bomber”, and in Jacksonville where Don & Dottie now lived he was known as the City’s Favorite Son.

Don served on the Wrestling Committee for the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, and in 1981, was appointed by Mayor Jake Godbold as the Chief of Operations for the City’s Recreation and Public Affairs Dept to oversee the Coliseum, Civic Auditorium, Gator Bowl, and Wolfson Baseball Park. Godbold only had high praise to give Don stating, “He was a true wrestler, not an actor…I don’t know anything that Don took on that he didn’t do in a good manner. He had a good business sense and did an excellent job for us and commanded a great deal of respect”. We join in congratulating Dotty & Don, and are grateful for the many ways they’ve contributed to the community, and for making Arlington their home.

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