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John Curran dies; former FBI agent who lived in Wantagh was 91

Curran served as the FBI liaison to late President George H.W. Bush when Bush was the United States ambassador to the United Nations, one of his daughters said.

John Curran, who lived in Wantagh, in 2007.

John Curran, who lived in Wantagh, in 2007. Photo Credit: Patti Arcidiacono

John Curran, a former FBI agent who raised his family in Wantagh, died last Saturday of cardiac arrest in a retirement home in Pennsylvania. He was 91.

After serving in World War II and attending college, Curran began working for the FBI as a special agent in Manhattan. He became the FBI liaison to George H.W. Bush when Bush was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said one of his daughters, Patti Arcidiacono.

Curran also worked espionage during the Cold War, but didn't tell the family much about his work because he feared it would endanger them, said another daughter, Sheila Carrigan.

"My dad loved his country tremendously," said Carrigan, 55, of Rockville Centre. "So, for him, this was just an extension of that because now he was working for the federal government. He wanted to do well for his country. He was so proud of his work with the FBI. It gave him such satisfaction." 

John Curran was born in February 1927 and raised in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. His mother, Mary Curran, was a homemaker and his father, Michael, a Con Edison supervisor.

He excelled in school, bypassing two grades in elementary and middle school, said Carrigan and Arcidiacono, 58, of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Curran skipped one year of high school, then graduated from Xavier High School in 1943.

Arcidiacono said her father was proud to graduate at age 16, but he also recognized that getting out early had a setback. The United States was wading through World War II at the time.

"He wanted to go to the war, but he was too young," said Arcidiacono, a neonatal nurse.

Curran couldn't enlist until he was 17. To pass the time, he took general education classes at Brooklyn College. When he came of age, he enlisted in the Navy. He was temporarily based in Pearl Harbor and was honorably discharged in 1945 after 18 months.

"When [the war] ended, he wanted to complete his college education," said Carrigan, an administrator at Molloy College, adding that her father graduated from Mount Saint Mary College.

The FBI is where he met his wife Maureen Connolly, who was working as a secretary in the FBI office. The two had their first date in January 1956 and were married nine months later. They settled in Laurelton, Queens, but in 1961 they moved to Wantagh, where they raised six children.

Carrigan and Arcidiacono said their father ran a stern, religious household. Arcidiacono remembers lining up with her siblings in front of their father to present their report cards, swimming lessons at Jones Beach and spur-of-the-moment trips to McDonald's.

"It was six of us, so we had to split fry [the order of French fries] and Coke, but we all got our own burger," she said.

Curran worked for the FBI for about 30 years, leaving in 1979. He went on to work as a security director for American Airlines, the New York Racing Association and the Long Island Lighting Co. He retired in 1997, lived in New Jersey for 20 years, then moved to a retirement home in Pennsylvania. 

In addition to Carrigan and Arcidiacono, survivors include his wife, Maureen, of Warminster, Pennsylvania; son Michael Curran, 60, of Herndon, Virginia; son Brian Curran, 57, of Fair Haven, New Jersey; daughter Maura Smith, 61, of Wilmington, Delaware; and daughter Christine Hoehn, 52, of Morristown, New Jersey.

Curran's viewing and funeral will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Newtown, Pennsylvania. He will be buried at Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown. 

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