Curtis Ray New saved Mary E. Hill from suffocation, Anderson, Indiana, November 30, 1976. When fire broke out in the living room of their one-story dwelling, Mrs. Hill, 50, and her husband fled into the integral garage; but Mrs. Hill, who used a cane because of a hip operation, went back into the connecting kitchen and thence into a utility room, from where she then could be heard moaning. New, 50, toolmaker, crawled into the smoke-filled kitchen, passing an archway to the living room, which then was completely afire. After returning outside briefly for air, New crawled to the utility room despite dense smoke and intense heat. Coughing and feeling dizzy from smoke he had taken in, New then dragged Mrs. Hill through the kitchen to the garage.
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Curtis “Ray” New, 91, of Anderson, Ind., died on Jan. 9, 2018, after being in the hospital with kidney failure. He was born on July 23, 1926, in Somerset, Ky. His family moved to New Castle, Ind., prior to the Great Depression.
On June 23, 1944, New enlisted in the Navy and served on the USS Oklahoma City, a light cruiser, in the Asiatic Pacific Theater. He was in Japan following Japan’s surrender to Allied forces in August 1945. New married the love of his life, the former Bonnie Jean Cole, on December 4, 1948, in New Castle.
New received the Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in 1977. The Commission awarded the medal for his actions in responding to a house fire in Anderson in November 1976.
He worked at Delco Remy in Anderson as a tool and die maker until he retired in 1988. New was also instrumental in helping his daughter, Karen, set up her company, Senior Shopping Service, Inc.
Throughout his life, New enjoyed many adventures. He was a motorcycle enthusiast and would take annual trips, even as far away as Nova Scotia. He loved to travel with his wife throughout the U.S. in their motorhome. On his 60th birthday, he learned to slalom water ski. He ran two miles a day until he was 75.
New was buried at Anderson Memorial Park Cemetery in Anderson.
(Edited from an obituary published in The Herald Bulletin in Anderson.)