Cover photo for Terrence "Terry" Curran's Obituary
Terrence "Terry" Curran Profile Photo
1946 Terrence 2022

Terrence "Terry" Curran

May 2, 1946 — June 16, 2022


Terry Curran, fondly known as "Dr. T," passed away peacefully on June 16th at age 76 with family by his side.

Terry was born in 1946 as the middle son of Dr. Desmond and Elizabeth Ann Cook Curran.  He was raised in Kansas City, and attended Pembroke Country Day School.  Upon graduation, he was awarded a full scholarship to attend Stanford, and found great joy playing for the college golf team.  His senior year he helped to win the (then) Pac-8 Championships in addition to completing pre-medical studies.  A fierce competitor and all-around athlete, his greatest love was golf.

After college, Terry returned home to attend Kansas University Medical School. He graduated from the KU Department of Ophthalmology, founded by his grandfather EJ Curran in 1914, and attended by his father, Desmond.  In the midst of his medical training, he took a year off to travel around the world with good friends, and brought home photographs worthy of National Geographic Magazine.

After completing his residency in 1977, Terry married Sara Tholen, and joined his father’s and grandfather’s ophthalmology practice at the Plaza Medical Building. He remained devoted to the Medical School and especially to the Department of Ophthalmology, becoming a tireless champion of the residency program. Countless educational materials and textbooks, clinical equipment, outfitting the auditorium for presentations, and helping make the onsite ambulatory surgery center possible were just a portion of his passions and contributions. Mostly he promoted a familial bond within the Department and treated it like his second home.

Emily Tess and James Theodore (Ted) were born in 1979 and 1981. Terry couldn't have been a prouder papa of the fine young adults they have become.

After closing the family practice, his passion for the underserved led him to establish vision clinics, donating his professional skills, time and resources to The Turner Clinic, a clinic at Operation Breakthrough, A Journey to New Life, and Southwest Boulevard Family Healthcare which partnered with the JayDoc program at KU Med.  He eventually joined with Sutherlin Optical, and petitioned Essilor, an international eyewear company, to provide free glasses for children and adults in these clinics who otherwise could not afford them.

In addition to local volunteer work, he traveled to Cusco, Peru to offer free vision services to residents there.

Terry kept up with a great group of friends who were often part of his weekly golf crew for over 40 years.  Sara was regaled endlessly with stories of their antics. In close competition with his love of golf was ballroom dancing with his wife. One of his proudest moments was dancing the Mambo with Emily at her wedding.

In 2008, he followed Sara to Western North Carolina where they eventually built a lovely home and spent the majority of their time.

Terry loved to keep his mind active by studying Physics, Calculus, Psychology, or any other challenging topic, and in the days leading up to his death, he successfully completed a 50-hour Continuing Medical Education course through the New England Journal of Medicine.

Although he had numerous academic and athletic accomplishments, Terry might best be remembered for his upbeat and indomitable spirit. He faced multiple health challenges with courage, optimism and humor. He shared time, wisdom and compassion with any who sought him out. Donning a funny costume to make people smile was one of his specialties. His favorite characters were Big Bird and The Cat in the Hat.

He is survived by his wife, Sara, his children Emily (Spencer Day) and Ted (Kim Curran), his brothers Desmond "Pat" Curran and Timothy Cook Curran, and grandchildren Audree Curran, Aidan, Finn, and Cooper Day.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to some of Dr. Curran's favorite organizations: JayDoc (or via check payable to KU Endowment specifying funds are for JayDoc sent to 3901 Rainbow Blvd., MS3012, Kansas City, KS 66160); KU Eye Lions Club (via check) Dan Funke, Treasurer, 9 Argon, Goddard, KS 67052; or Journey to New Life

The care of Dr. Curran has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Terrence "Terry" Curran, please visit our flower store.


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