Sunday, September 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
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Curless a pioneer for Suisun waterfront

babs update, 8/3/12

Babs Curless, former owner of Babs Delta Diner in Suisin City, died Sunday. (Daily Republic file)

By
From page A5 | March 12, 2014 |

SUISIN CITY — Doris “Babs” Curless was a pioneer for downtown Suisun City.

Without her, the waterfront redevelopment project and Main Street as it looks now may never have happened, said longtime friend and former Suisun City Mayor Jim Spering.

Curless, former owner of Babs Delta Diner, was the first business owner to move to the waterfront when the city started to redevelop the area in the early 1990s. She died Sunday at the age of 81.

“She was one of the very first people we talked to about the concept of having the business downstairs and then you live upstairs,” Spering, a current Solano County supervisor, said.

He said Curless was concerned about the cost and the scale of the project.

She nearly backed out, but with reassurance from Spering, the city and the redevelopment agency, “She says, ‘I’m gonna go with this thing,’ ” Spering said.

The thriving waterfront that visitors now see in downtown Suisun City is largely because of the risks Curless took more than 20 years ago, Spering said.

“It became a destination,” Spering said.

Spering said Babs Delta Diner was iconic for the waterfront. He said he attributes the success of the waterfront to her for “leading the development . . .”

After Curless’ success in relocating her diner from a side street off Main Street, Spering said the city was able to point to her to show potential newcomers to the waterfront what they might be able to expect.

“People saw that and took it off,” Spering said. “She was such a great ambassador for downtown Suisun. You couldn’t pay somebody to do what she did for the area.”

Curless and her diner were featured in a PBS special on places coming back from the brink.

“People said, ‘If you go to Suisun, you have to try this place,’ ” Spering said. “She was ‘this place.’ She was just a real down-to-earth person.”

After the new diner opened, Spering said the city always brought potential newcomers to Babs Delta Diner for meetings.

“She always told (her) story when meeting with people,” he said. “She was an absolutely wonderful person.”

Curless and the city came together at the right time.

“We needed a success and she brought it to us,” Spering said. “She was a very close friend and I’ve always appreciated what she did for the city.”

A memorial for Curless is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at the waterfront.

Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or mcorpos@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.

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Discussion | 8 comments

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  • Vince GuisandeMarch 12, 2014 - 12:21 am

    One of the sweetest ladies to ever grace Suisun. We sure are proud to know her and call her a friend for all these years. God Speed Babs Vince & Linda

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Lynda RoseMarch 12, 2014 - 10:59 am

    Thank God for Babs Curless. I live next door to her old place, which is now a Mexican restaurant. I remember when I first moved to Suisun City from Parkway Gardens in Fairfield in 1991 and friends begged me not to move because they feared for my safety. Without Babs, I doubt the Suisun City Waterfront would be the crown jewel it is. For the record, I have yet to be harmed as the violence that plagued Suisun City in the late 1980's no longer exists, thanks to businesses such as Bab's Delta Diner.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickMarch 12, 2014 - 2:47 pm

    rest in piece ---babs

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MikeMarch 13, 2014 - 8:43 am

    She touched a lot of people, and will be missed greatly. We love you Babs!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Barbara GloverMarch 13, 2014 - 9:54 am

    I'm from back east where we always would go to diners for good food, local info and a family welcome - I found that at Babs! You will be very much missed by family as well as your "local" family (who is everyone who ever set foot into your establishment.)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Joe GoodrichMarch 13, 2014 - 11:02 am

    BABS was a wonderful person , sister, and like a mother to me, she will be greatly missed. Love, Brother Joe

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Kyle SchoenthalerMarch 13, 2014 - 2:09 pm

    She was an awesome lady that took really good care of my Grandpa in his last few years. Rest in Peace Babsy! We love you and miss you.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • aileen bromanMarch 19, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    I will miss you so much love you so much we have so much to remember see you soon love your sister Aileen

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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