Thomas Curran, 72, owned delicatessens, campaigned for relatives in political races

November 11, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Thomas Gordon Curran, who owned delicatessens and was a member of a family prominent in Northeast Baltimore political circles, died Sunday of complications from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 72.

A resident of Northeast Baltimore's Beverly Hills neighborhood for many decades, he moved to Carney three years ago.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Garrett Avenue, he attended Loyola High School, City College and the University of Baltimore. At 17, he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Dresden, Germany - taking part in rebuilding efforts after World War II.

In 1961, he purchased a neighborhood grocery on Belair Road and turned it into Curran's Gardenville Delicatessen, which he owned with his brother, James W. Curran Jr. of Baltimore, who survives him.

Thomas Curran ran the meat and grocery departments, while his wife of 36 years, the former Betty Dolores Sindall, did catering. She died in 1990. Family members sold the business last month.

"It was an institution, practically a landmark," said a daughter, Diana Curran of Baltimore, who worked alongside her sisters with her father. "He worked every day except Christmas. He was a butcher, had a great bakery department and sold vegetables and household items. Everybody in Gardenville loved Mr. Tom. He made great shrimp salad and homemade soups."

With his brother, Mr. Curran also had a business interest in Curran's Delicatessen in Govans, Curran's Westfield Delicatessen on Harford Road in Hamilton, and an Annapolis City Market seafood stall.

Family members said Mr. Curran was a Democrat and campaigned for family members in their political races - his brother Gerald J. Curran, a longtime member of the House of Delegates; cousin J. Joseph Curran Jr., the Maryland attorney general; and two other cousins who served on the City Council, incumbent Robert W. Curran and Martin E. "Mike" Curran.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the St. John's Tenth Ward Club. He was a weekly volunteer at Our Daily Bread.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, 6806 McClean Blvd., where he was a member.

Survivors also include his wife of eight years, the former Mary Jane Klein Rook; four other daughters, Mary Claire Lynn of Leesburg, Va., Carol Ann Curran of Baltimore, Maureen Curran of Queenstown and Wendy Schifalacqua of Bristow, Va.; two other brothers, Brian M. Curran of Atlanta and Denis A. Curran of Hockessin, Del.; three stepsons, Michael Rook of Glen Rock, Pa., Russell Rook of Fallston and Gary Rook of Bel Air; a stepdaughter, Sherry McLhinney of Abingdon; 19 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. A son, Thomas G. Curran Jr., died in 1981.

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