Constant L Fliermans, known to his family and friends as “Curly,” passed peacefully on Monday morning, August 1, 2011, at the age of 94. Constant was born of Dutch parents in New York City, New York at Children’s Hospital in the Borough of Bronx. His parents travelled extensively while he was young and he attended schools in New York, San Francisco, California and one year in The Hague, Holland. Upon graduating from Mission High School in San Francisco, his first real job was as an apprentice tool and die maker with a small jobbing shop (Stoesser Tool & Die Company) – it was his boss at this company that nicknamed him Curly. This job helped Curly to become interested in understanding mechanical technology more fully, and with that in mind, he attended Samuel Gompers Trade School at night. After that he retained a great interest in new scientific developments, especially as they pertained to producing consumer goods.
During the war years Curly volunteered to work at a foreign base and was assigned to the Pearl Harbor base and later to the Kaneohe Naval Air Station. On Oahu, Curly lived (mostly) near Lanikai and felt that even with the inconveniences of war, these three years were most worthwhile and memorable. In the midst of war he developed a warm friendship for the people and enjoyed not only swimming and surfing, but also spear fishing.
After this adventure, life back in the States seemed uninteresting so Curly accepted an offer to work for ARAMCO (Standard Oil) and see (Saudi) Arabia. During this period, Curly spent time in Egypt (Cairo, Suez, Heliopolis, and Port Said) and had the opportunity to see other cities while waiting for transportation. Working in the oil refineries at Dhahran and Ras Tanura gave him the opportunity to work with Arab natives who he said were not many years removed from nomadic life. He got to know his crew and their friends better by learning their language and customs.
After the war, his services were no longer needed and Curly returned to San Francisco where he found work in the trade to be hardly satisfying. Farming seemed to offer a challenge, so he learned to be a dairyman and at the pinnacle of his achievement had an 18 cow, market milk farm. He learned that the investment for a profitable dairy operation was beyond his financial capacity, and sold his small operation. Curly then decided to raise alfalfa, live frugally and go to school again.
Curly married his beloved wife, Virginia Lopes Fliermans in March 1976 – they were married for 30 years until her passing in 2006. Curly and Virginia lived in Hilmar, CA until 1989 when they bought a house in Modesto, CA. Curly enjoyed serving as a Director for several years at the neighborhood fire station, Burbank Paradise Fire District, Modesto, CA. Curly was also a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary where he and his wife Virginia were involved in activities such as vessel safety checks and assisting with safe boating courses. In 2008 Curly moved to an assisted living facility in Turlock, CA, Cypress of Emanuel, where he was well cared for by the kind and dedicated staff. It was evident through his life that Curly was kind, considerate, intelligent, and always a true gentleman.
Constant was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Virginia, his sister Marie (Ken) Potter and his niece Kristy. He is survived by his five step-sons: Allen Lopes (Lana), Richard Lopes (Linda Murphy-Lopes), Tony Lopes (Jeannie), James Lopes (Linda) and John Lopes (Deanna), his nephews Kase Waddell and Kuy Eric Waddell (wife and four children), and his cousin Frances Richards, in addition to many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Curly made his last unselfish gift to the Body Donation Program at the University of California, Davis. His donation will be used for studies in medicine and will help prepare students to become the doctors of the future. In Lieu of flowers please make donations in his name to University Of California, Davis School Of medicine, 4900 Broadway Ste 1150, Sacramento, CA 95820. A memorial mass honoring Curly will be held at Sacred Heart Church, Turlock, CA on September 2, 2011, at 1 pm. Please Share your memories at www.allenmortuary.com.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011