Earlier this month, in conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, we wrote a blog post about World War II veteran Frank Curre, another of the one-third of mesothelioma sufferers who are military veterans. Unfortunately, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported on December 1, 2011, that Curre died exactly 70 years after surviving that Japanese attack and after battling mesothelioma for more than a year. He was 88 years old.
While Curre attributed the cancer to his military service from that bygone era, the ailment never affected his patriotism. Robert Carter, commander of the William B. Moody Memorial VFW Post 2034 where Curre was a member, told the Tribune-Herald, “He loved America, and he loved his uniform, and he couldn’t stand for anybody to talk bad about it. He would be the first one to tell you to shut up if you did.”
Carter told the Tribune-Herald that he and Curre would visit local schools and talk to students about World War II. Curre was also the president of the local Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, and he returned to Pearl Harbor four times with group members, as recently as 2010.
Carter told the Tribune-Herald that he had been visiting Curre in the days before his death as his health declined, saying Curre was bedridden for about five days and by that Monday could only nod or shake his head to acknowledge people. Mary Duty, a history teacher at Tennyson Middle School, told the Tribune-Herald that Curre was a frequent guest speaker in her class. “He told kids that every day after Pearl Harbor was like a gift, because he should have died that day, and when he didn’t, every day for the next 70 years was from God,” Duty said.
His family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made in Frank Curre’s name to the National Museum of the Pacific War, c/o the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, 328 East Main Street, Fredericksburg, Texas 78624.
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