John A. Ciurca Sr., 80, mechanic, ran charter boat

August 14, 2005

John A. Ciurca Sr., a retired Kaiser Aluminum mechanic who later operated an Ocean City charter boat, died of complications from pulmonary fibrosis Thursday at the Baltimore-Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie. The Edmondson Heights resident was 80.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Conkling Street, he was a 1943 graduate of Loyola High School.

He joined the Army after high school and while training in England, he met generals Dwight Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, and Omar Bradley in field reviews of his battalion, family members said yesterday.

Mr. Ciurca recalled General Montgomery inquiring where he was from, family members said.

Mr. Ciurca landed on Utah Beach about midday, June 6, 1944, and fought his way to the Falaise Gap, where he was wounded in action. He served the rest of the war training soldiers for the impending push to Berlin. He was awarded a Purple Heart.

After the war, he worked with his parents at their Rosario and Rosaria's Italian Grocery on Conkling Street in Highlandtown.

He later was a salesman for Conta Luna Foods, which sold pasta products, and retired in 1984 as a mechanic at the old Kaiser Aluminum plant in the Relay area.

From 1980 until the mid-1990s, with his son Frank Ciurca of Pasadena, he operated the Dolphin Too, a charter boat based at the Shantytown Marina in Ocean City.

He enjoyed playing pool and won local tournaments. He also played golf at Hobbitts Glen.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Ambrose Funeral Home, 2719 Hammonds Ferry Road, Lansdowne.

Survivors include his wife of 24 years, the former Irene Rosen; another son, John A. Ciurca Jr. of St. Petersburg, Fla.; two daughters, Joanne Kamsch of Ridgely and Vicki Cumberland of Salisbury; two sisters, Mary Panzarella of Baltimore and Bridget Diberardo of Bel Air; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His first wife of 25 years, Betty Skinner, died in 1974.

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