Fr. James J. Curry, SJ, son of John and Frances (Tunney) Curry, was born in New York City on July 13, 1944. He attended Regis High School and after graduation in 1962, he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Fr. Curry did his philosophical studies from 1966 to 1968 at Loyola Seminary in Shrub Oak, N.Y. He then taught history and classical literature at Xavier High School for the next two years. In his third year of regency, Fr. Curry continued to live at Xavier while attending New York University where he earned a master’s degree in European history in 1971. From 1971 to 1974, Fr. Curry attended Woodstock College in New York to study theology. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Terrance Cooke on June 8, 1974, and he earned his Master of Divinity degree in 1975.
From 1974 to 1987, Fr. Curry lived in Rochester, N.Y., where he taught theology, history, social studies and Latin at McQuaid Jesuit High School. He was also the moderator of the parent’s club. During that time, he had a sabbatical (1984-1985), during which he did further studies in theology at the Jesuit School of Theology in Weston, Mass.
In 1987, Fr. Curry moved back to New York City, where he began a 24-year career at the Loyola School in Manhattan, N.Y. There he taught social studies and theology and served as a campus minister. In 1994, he became department chair of the theology department at Loyola. He held the position until 2011, except for a year’s sabbatical in 2000 to continue his theological studies at Weston School of Theology.
Ill health caused Fr. Curry to retire from teaching in 2011. He continued as assistant to the chaplain at Loyola School, and for a brief time he served as treasurer of the St. Ignatius Loyola community, while also doing pastoral ministry.
In 2016 Fr. Curry’s health continued to deteriorate, so he moved to Murray-Weigel-Kohlmann, the Province health facility, to pray for the Church and for the Society of Jesus. As long as his health allowed, he celebrated the Eucharist for the Jesuit Community and took part in many of the community activities.
One of his fellow faculty at Loyola described Fr. Curry as being “rough around the edges, but with an interior of gold.” Fr. Curry was that. In the end, after a long stay in the hospital, he realized that further treatment would not be beneficial, so he decided to stop all treatment and return to Murray-Weigel to live out the last of his days in his Jesuit Community.