March 12, 2010

OBITUARIESThomas F. Curran, 64, popular teacher, coach at Deering High

— Thomas F. Curran was one of those teachers who inspired, entertained and supported his students whenever he could.

Mr. Curran died Sunday at the age of 64.

The Portland resident had taught English at Deering High School for almost 30 years.

Before that, he taught at Jack Junior High School and at Lincoln Middle School in Portland.

''He was always there for his students,'' said his wife, Wallene.

His wife said the Deering High community is mourning the loss of one of its most popular teachers.

Principal Ken Kunin posted a statement on the high school's Web site.

''Anyone who had the privilege of knowing Mr. Curran realized that he truly loved his students, whether they grew up around the corner, as Mr. Curran did, or came from around the world, as did many in his English classes, his open gym times, or those he got to know in the hall at passing time.

''He enjoyed being around young adults and he showed his caring in the classroom, around the building and in his constant presence at Deering events over so many years.''

Mr. Curran's wife said her husband, who played basketball at Cheverus and Portland high schools, faithfully attended all of Deering High's athletic events.

He also attended senior proms and graduations, and he coached freshman girls' softball and intramural sports at Deering.

Mr. Curran had a way of breaking through the age barrier.

He became best friends with one of his former students, David Brenner, who went on to become a high school basketball coach.

His wife said Mr. Curran enjoyed ''telling stories'' or jokes to his students. A few years ago, he was voted the city's funniest teacher by a local news publication, she said.

''The kids felt comfortable around him. They were never intimidated by him,'' she added.

Mr. Curran became well-known for writing letters of recommendation for students trying to get into college. He never turned down a request.

''He wrote recommendations all the time. He was the recommendation king,'' his wife said. ''He just wanted to make sure that the kids had a chance to go to college.''

A reception, open to the public, will be held at Deering High School after the service on Saturday morning.

-- Dennis HoeyPASSAGES

Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.

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