1942 - 2016
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Michael Joseph Curley Born in Rockville Center, New York, on December 23, 1942, died peacefully on October 9, 2016, his wife at his side. Michael taught in Italy and served in the Peace Corps in Malawi before completing graduate degrees at Harvard and the University of Chicago. In 1971, he began a long and fulfilling career at the University of Puget Sound, where, as an English professor and director of the Honors Program, he touched many students' lives and made deep and lasting friendships with his colleagues. In addition to his love of teaching and scholarship, Michael was devoted to his family. He took great delight in spending time with his sons, coaching their sports teams, playing baseball, skiing and camping. He and his wife also traveled widely with their sons. He led a wonderful life Michael is survived by Sandy Plann, his loving wife of 37 years, sons Brendan (Katie) and Austin Plann-Curley, niece Britt Curley and nephews Bjorn Curley and Paul Navajas Plann. A celebration of Michael's life will be held on Monday, November 21, at 4:00 PM in the Tahoma Room in Thomas Hall, University of Puget Sound. In lieu of flowers, if desired, donations can be sent in Michael's memory to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. For their kind care of Michael, the family wishes to thank the dedicated doctors, nurses and staff of the University of Washington Medical Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, especially Dr. Laura Connelly-Smith and Dr. Eli Estey.

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Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Oct. 22, 2016.
Celebration of Life
04:00 PM
Tahoma Room in Thomas Hall, University of Puget Sound
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
July 23, 2017
It saddens me to learn that Michael has passed away. We were great friends as graduate students at the University of Chicago. I came to visit with you at the end of his first year of teaching at the University of Puget Sound. As I have not returned to the state of Washington since then, we did not meet again. Michael was a great man, and a man of great learning and conviction. I recall his droll sense of humor even now and his tremendous miming of his otter personality and imitation of Theodore Silverstein, a professor whom we shared in common. I extend sincere condolences.
John King
November 18, 2016
To Michael's Family:

It is with a heavy heart that I learned today of Michael's passing. Like Michael, I am a medievalist--a historian. Like Jonathan Juilfs, who also left a remembrance, I am a proud UPS alumnus (BA 1991, History) and former Honors student. Michael ran Honors during my time at the University, and his lecture to the incoming freshmen in the fall of 1987 produced my first vague impression of what I could expect from my college education at UPS. He wore tweedy jackets, and a tie, and sweaters. The Honors Program, under his guidance and more than any other single factor, molded me into the scholar and lover of the Humanities that I am. It is an irony of my time at UPS that I never took any courses directly from Michael, despite immediately latching onto medieval history as my intellectual passion. It was only after graduation, when I had entered graduate school and later the academic profession, that we reconnected and became friends. I could count on seeing Michael regularly at conferences sponsored by the Medieval Association of the Pacific, and there we would catch up: he sharing whatever scholarly project he was engaged with at that moment, and I on my professional and personal milestones. He was a warm, generous soul, and I am glad that we became friends. His teaching and academic guidance touched hundreds, if not thousands, of students over his many years in academe. Even through his indirect presence and stewardship of the Honors Program, it made all the difference in my life. I intend to continue in the tradition he so proudly represented. I hope that your family will accept my heartfelt condolences. - John Ott, Department of History, Portland State University
John Ott
November 16, 2016
From Blinky,
Michael is among the Celtic heroes who dwell in the mystical mounds where otherworldly kings dwell, in magical forests where gallant beings help others and in isles of the blessed where everything is possible. I loved that you came to lecture in my course on Goddesses where you regaled the students with Celtic tales. Some were transported to magical places. All were impressed by your knowledge and love of language and literature. It is difficult to accept that you are not here, but at least, Blinky knows best. You are missed.
Elisabeth Benard
October 31, 2016
Michael had many talents - a devoted husband and father, a brilliant scholar, an inspiring teacher, a friend to many, and a passionate youth baseball coach. As a coach, he learned the strengths of each player, giving heartfelt support and encouragement, regardless of their skill level. It seemed that the joy he found in creating a batting order was as fulfilling as contemplating a Chaucer tale. He loved baseball and his players and the players loved him.
Michael will be missed, but his legacy will long be remembered by the countless people whose lives he touched.
Sincerely, Steve and Mary Barger
Steve Barger
October 29, 2016
To Michael's Family: My name is Jonathan Juilfs, and I am an alumnus of the University of Puget Sound (1991-1996). I am currently Assistant Professor of English at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada, and my specialization is medieval literature (Latin, Old and Middle English, and Old French). When I first heard the news of Michael's passing, I was truly devasted, not because I had been exceptionally close to Michael as a student, but rather because his influence on the whole of my adult life cannot be adequately measured. When I arrived at UPS in the Fall of 1991, I could not have begun to imagine what the Honors Program and Michael's instruction would mean to my future as a citizen of the world. Michael taught our first-semester, first-year course called "Historical Perspectives," and in that class, teamed with Roman historian David Smith, Michael introduced me to Thucydides (Greece), Livy (Rome), Bede (Anglo-Saxon England), Machiavelli (Italy), Bernal Diaz (Spain, along with the opposing perspective of the Spanish Conquest recorded by the Aztecs, called "The Broken Spears"), and Edward Gibbon's (excerpted) "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" (English). I am currently teaching several of these texts for the first time this semester in my current university's newly-minted Humanities Core class in Western Tradition, and I have relied heavily on my experience from that class 25 years ago. As such, I have felt the weight of Michael's influence on me very keenly of late, a sense that births great joy at the gifts he bequeathed to me (a love of classic literature) and a debt of obligation that cannot be repaid, only passed on to other young students. As my own professional specialization indicates, I now walk many of the roads that Michael did himself (though I am a mere shadow of his intellectual brilliance), and I am eternally grateful that he so freely shared his love of medieval texts with me and all of his students. I took one other course with him, after I had declared an English major, a fascinating pairing of Dante Alighieri and James Joyce, reading Dante's "Vita nuova" and "Comedy" alongside Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" and "Ulysses." I even learned how to read Middle English aloud when he coached me during a British Literature class session on Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." He was fantastically learned, elegant in his speech, always entertaining with a wry sense of scholarly wit, and, above all, a lover of classical learning who faithfully imparted that love to all of students. I am privileged to have been his student for a short time, and I mourn his passing with you and all of my UPS colleagues and professors. May a hearty pint of Guiness be his in the next life, and may he rest in peace. Affectionately and gratefully, Jonathan
Jonathan Juilfs
October 23, 2016
Dear Sandy,
I did not know you as well as I would have liked to when we were working in the IEP program together, but your vibrant personality and strength made a lasting impression, and I think of you and your family often, I want you to know how deeply sorry I am for your loss. It is obvious that you share your tremendous loss with many in the wider community.My prayers are with you.
Margot Rose
October 22, 2016
Dear Sandy,

I often think of how generous you and Michael were when Montatip and I were first married. You were the first couple we ever had over to our home. I also remember Michael angrily reading a published text which had been terribly edited as if it were a personal affront to his professionalism. However, his anger was of the gentle variety. I am sure you and your family have many great memories, so that Michael will be in your hearts forever. By the way, Montatip and I have just completed the 36th year of our adventure together. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Richard Albertson
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