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Thomas Michael Curley

1943 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Thomas Michael Curley Obituary
Thomas Michael Curley

Age: 73 • Barre Town

Thomas Michael "T-Bone" "T" Curley, a proud and much-loved Irishman, passed away peacefully at his home on the grounds of his beloved Thunder Road Speedbowl on Friday, May 5, 2017. He was 73.

Born on May 10, 1943 in Auburn, Maine, he was the second of two children of Richard and Bettie (Brown) Curley, the murder of his mother when he was just 3 and subsequent estrangement of his father, led to an upbringing by his maternal grandparents Stanley and Adria (Carville) Brown.

A 1966 graduate of Norwich University, Tom spent early years in Vermont sailing and teaching sailing on Lake Champlain, but was best known for the nearly 40 years he spent promoting short track stock car racing at Catamount Stadium in Milton, Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, Airborne Raceway in Plattsburgh, and throughout New England, Quebec, Ontario, the Maritimes and special appearances up and down the East coast first with his NASCAR North Tour, and for over 30 years with his own American Canadian Tour (ACT).

Throughout his life, Tom's experiences in prep schools and his beloved summer sessions at Camp Moosehead in Maine would guide his personal and professional life. Tom's love of adventure and travel, reverence for tradition and heritage, compassion, honesty, and loyalty, and appreciation of hard work, allowed him to enjoy a very full and satisfying life. He was proud of his accomplishments, treasured special relationships with friends and colleagues gathered over a lifetime, and he was content that racers and race fans always enjoyed the very best experience he could provide. With the fast pace of his business life, he was happiest on his deck in Maine, reclining in the sun, with a good Red Sox game on the radio. A diagnosis of COPD several years ago was met with characteristic resolve and dignity, and Tom remained in charge, in spite of each new challenge.

The most recent honor bestowed on Tom came to him on the morning of his unexpected passing. During his youth in Maine, Tom loved to sail, and was an accomplished sailing competitor. During summer breaks from Norwich, he used those talents to teach sailing on Malletts Bay. He was ever proud of "his kids" - the young boys and girls who he taught to sail and coached in competitions, resulting in life-long friendships with many of them and their families. With the building of the Community Sailing Center on the Waterfront in Burlington, "his kids" gathered to recognize the impact of his sailing and life lessons, and the "T Curley Observation Deck" overlooking Lake Champlain will be dedicated in his honor later this year.

Tom leaves behind his adoring and dedicated partner of many years, Darla Ripley Hartt of Waterbury Center, Vermont and Scarborough, Maine; his children Cait (Curley) Lynch & husband Derek with granddaughter Lila of Warwick, Ontario; his son Seamus M. Curley & wife Jennifer, with grandsons James, George, Kevan, Cyle, and Glenn of Underhill, VT; his very special sister Susan (Curley) Maher & husband Peter of Stratham, NH, and several nephews & nieces. Tom enjoyed many special times with his nephew Peter Maher, and nieces Merrill & Grace Woodruff, and Liliana Conoscenti, as well as Darla's extended family, who held a special place in his heart. Tom's sense of family also included many of the wonderful people he worked with over the years, to whom he was as devoted, and were as devoted to him, as any blood relative. His love of dogs--with a special place in his heart for German Shepherds--provided him with much joy and comfort throughout his life.

Tom's life was guided by a quote familiar to many who heard him speak at banquets and special events over the years. Delivered by Bobby Kennedy at his brother's funeral, Tom embraced and exemplified these favorite words:

"Some men see things as they are and say why, I dream things that never were and say, why not?"

In accordance with his wishes, there will be no formal services, but his ashes will be returned to his beloved Higgins Beach in Scarborough, Maine--his very favorite place--where he was comforted to know he would travel with the tides, returning each day to the seawall of the home he shared with Darla, with the occasional trip to his ancestral homeland of Ireland.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to may make donations to the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, P.O. Box 64818, Burlington, Vermont 05406.

Assisting the family is the Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Waterbury VT. For a more complete obituary and/or to send on-line condolences, please visit

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Published in The Burlington Free Press on May 10, 2017
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