2015-10-15 / Obituaries

Francis Henry Curren Jr.

Francis Henry

Curren Jr. died on Oct. 15, 2015, at his Jamestown home with his family and caregivers by his side. Curren was 92 years old. He was born Jan. 14, 1923, in Providence, the middle child of the late Francis H. Curren and Helen Carroll Curren.

Curren graduated from Cranston High School in 1940 and went to the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating early for the end of World War II in 1945. He served on the USS Nevada after completing a course in aviation indoctrination and was transferred to the USS Wilkes-Barre until 1947. Curren was called to service for the Korean War, serving on the USS Midway. He received the highest compliments from his superior officers, who often called him “quiet” and “capable.” He retired as a lieutenant from the Navy in 1953, discharged with honors.

In 1950, he married Meriel Redfern and they had six children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. They raised their family in Edgewood and spent many summers in Buttonwoods.

Curren was the former chief executive officer of Pease & Curren Inc., a precious metals refinery cofounded in 1916 by his father and the late Charles Pease. Today, Pease & Curren is a successful company and one of the oldest refineries in Rhode Island.

Curren attended the Harvard Business School’s small company management program in the 1970s. He served on boards and in leadership roles for the Jewelers Board of Trade; the International Precious Metals Institute; the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America; the Van Liew Trust; and the Rhode Island Industrial Facilities Finance Corporation.

Curren was involved in community service for many years, serving on the boards of St. Elizabeth’s Home, the Cranston YMCA, the Rhode Island Council of the Navy League, William Hall Library, Providence Public Library, and was an active Rotarian. He co-founded the Pawtuxet Edgewood Preservation Society and was the past president of the Buttonwood Fire District. He was honored with the Paul Harris Rotarian award and the Big Brothers of Rhode Island humanitarian award. In 1998, he was inducted into the Cranston Hall of Fame.

Curren was known by all for his love of ships and his talent as a yachtsman. He sailed his beloved Pamir to victory in the Newport to Bermuda race in 1984, and was awarded the St. David Lighthouse Trophy. He loved to take his grandchildren sailing. Curren watched the ships in the bay with joy and longing until his last days.

An avid racer and cruiser, he was a member of the New York Yacht Club, the Conanicut Yacht Club, and a supporter of the yachting museum of Newport. Curren loved to ski, a passion he encouraged in his family. In later years, the winters were spent in Woodstock, Vt., on the slopes. His 75th birthday was spent in Zermatt, Switzerland, with his family and friends, where he was the most skilled on the mountain.

Curren was preceded in death by his sister, Helen Armstrong; Anna McNally, who was one of the biggest influences in life; and his former wife, Meriel Redfern Curren. He is survived by his sister, Virginia Kenney, of Dover, N.H., and his six children, Francis (Kip) Curren III and his wife Janet of Newport, Thomas Curren of Lincoln, Mass., Elizabeth Curren and her husband Dwain Winters of Bethesda, Md., Judith Bennett and her husband Greg of Saunderstown, Meredith Curren and her husband Dr. Gary Frishman of Cranston, and Ellen Curren and her husband John Lees of Winchester, Mass. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren: Marcus Bennett, Brandon Bennett, Michael Curren, Lauren Bennett Hannon, Francis Curren IV, Marissa Curren, Laura Curren, Samuel Frishman, Caroline Frishman, Nicholas Lees, Meredith Winters, Henry Frishman, Anna Lees and Grace Lees; and one great-grandchild, Rogan Hannon.

The funeral was a private service with military honors. Donations can be made in his name to Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904.

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