Thomas J. Curran, 88, senior Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, passed away July 17, 2012, in Mauston, Wisconsin, surrounded by his family.
Born in Mauston, Wisconsin, on April 30, 1924, Judge Curran was raised and educated in Mauston, at St. Patrick School and Mauston High School, graduating in 1942. He had one year of NROTC training at Marquette University and then served as an officer in the Pacific until the war ended in 1945. He graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1948.
During his undergraduate days, Tom met the former Colette Saether, his lifelong love. Tom and Colette married and he joined the family law firm in Mauston, Wisconsin, joining his brothers, Charles P. Curran and William R. Curran.
Curran practiced law in Mauston for 35 years, with a broad and diverse practice throughout Wisconsin. His high-caliber practice won him admission to the exclusive American College of Trial Lawyers, an annual “A” rating by peer review, and many other honors.
His lifelong commitment to service was demonstrated by his many contributions to his Church, his profession and his community, serving bishops, governors, and every kind of civic group with his wise counsel.
After serving on the Board of Governors and Judicial Council for years, Tom was elected President of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
In 1983, President Reagan appointed, and the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Curran as a Federal District Judge for the eastern half of the State of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He immediately inherited almost 500 cases and over the next 22 years, he presided over many high-profile cases, including the Milwaukee school desegregation case, the re-drawing of the state Senate and Assembly districts, the constitutional challenge to the funding of the Brewer’s then-proposed new baseball stadium, and many others. Along the way, he treated everyone he met, Court staff, accused, witnesses and victims with the same level of respect and courtesy.
His Irish charm, wit and gentlemanly manner were always present, winning him friends from every walk of life, whether in the Navy, in school, in the courtroom, in the board room, in the neighborhood or in church. He was driven by his love of country, his love of family and his deep Catholic faith, all of which he instilled in his six children and sixteen grandchildren. Judge Curran is survived by his loving family: Janet M. (Dr. Robert) Margolis of Arden Hills, Minnesota; William T. (Joelle) Curran of Mauston; Dr. Mark J. (Mary) Curran, Portage; James M. (Marla) Curran, Green Bay; Catherine C. (John) Orton, Mauston, and Hon. Paul S. Curran (Gail Carlson) of Mauston. He is further survived by sixteen grandchildren: Jane and Brittany Margolis; Peter and Alexander Curran; Thomas, Elizabeth and Anne Curran; Patrick, Philip, Timothy and Michael Curran; Richard, Mary and Jack Orton; and Mark and Donna Curran.
He was preceded in death by his dear wife, Colette, in 2008; his parents, William B. and Catherine L. Curran; and his siblings, Anna, Mary Louise, Charles P., William R. and Catherine Denise Curran.
A Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Mauston, Wisconsin. Friends may call at the Church from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, 2012, and Monday morning from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Interment will be at St. Patrick Catholic Cemetery, Mauston, Wisconsin.
In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated in Judge Curran’s name to St. Patrick Church or School, 401 Mansion Street, Mauston, WI 53948; or Marquette University Law School, P. O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201.
His life was a beacon of honor, generosity, and faith which will shine on in the hearts of those who knew him.