CURTIS WITHERSPOON was a lineman for cable companies. He would drive under a network of wires that mean nothing to the average person and spot flaws that no one else would see.

"Look at that," he would say, pointing upward. "That's all wrong. They did that wrong."

But Curtis' job turned tragic Dec. 15 when the metal bucket he was riding as he worked on cables in Towanda, Pa., touched a live wire and he was electrocuted.

He died instantly, authorities said.

"He was proud of his work," said his wife, the former Antoinette Childs. She and Curtis were married in July, although they had known each other for several years.

Curtis Witherspoon, who was working for RCC Inc., a cable subcontractor, a former Comcast lineman, a volunteer track coach who formed his own team, and a Marine veteran, was 50. He lived in West Philadelphia.

Curtis was a dedicated mentor for young people, not only through his track teams but in the community. Last April, he received an honor award from the Brother to Brother organization, which mentors youths.

He coached track as a volunteer at Parkway West High School and the Cambria Youth Association. He organized his own team two years ago and traveled with it to other states to participate in meets, including North Carolina, where the team joined others from around the country for meets every summer.

Curtis was a member of the United Age Group Track Coaches Association.

Curtis himself ran track at Lansdowne High School. He joined the Marine Corps in 1983 and served until his discharge in 1987.

He was born to Sharon Witherspoon and grew up in the 52nd Street and Larchwood Avenue neighborhood of West Philadelphia. His stepfather was Steven Pompey.

"He was a beautiful, caring man," his wife said. "He helped everybody. There was not a time when someone asked him for anything that he wasn't there for them.

"He was generous, hardworking, a very faithful, God-loving man."

Curtis was a fan of gospel and R&B music. He would play Tamela Mann's gospel song "Take Me to the King," at home and in his car:

Take me to the king.

I don't have much to bring.

My heart is torn to pieces,

It's my offering.

Curtis also enjoyed fishing in the local streams. But being the kindhearted guy he was, he would catch the fish and throw them back.

He was a devoted member of First Corinthian Baptist Church.

Inexplicably, Curtis was a San Francisco 49ers fan. But he would say, "When the 49ers aren't playing, it's the Eagles all the way," his wife said.

Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Curtis Witherspoon Jr.; two daughters, Diandra Witherspoon and Tiera McClure; a sister and two brothers.

Services: 10 a.m. Monday at First Corinthian Baptist Church, 5101 Pine St. Friends may call at 8 a.m. Burial will be at Washington Crossing National Cemetery.