We Remember

CURRAN, Michael Joseph

October 18, 1933 — July 17, 2020

Michael “Mike” was born in Boho Castlerea, County Roscommon, Ireland on October 18, 1933, to Thomas and Annie Curran (nee Lavin) and passed away peacefully on Friday, July 17, 2020, at the age of 86.  He is survived by his lovely wife (as he always called her) of 63 years, Helen (nee Stremel); son George (Sandra) Curran; daughter Patricia Curran (Bryon); grandchildren: Sheena (Evan), Brittany (Barrie), Ashling (Riley), Lliam, Rory, Rexx, Sullivan, and Grady; great-grandchildren Thomas, Teague, McCartney, and Zuzu. He is also survived by his siblings Katie (Billy) Ryan, Tommy Curran, and Eddie Curran in Ireland; and in-laws: Gene Goll and Kathleen Curran, Ray and Anita Stremel, Katie Schneider, and Harvey Reiswig; and a large extended family.

Papa is predeceased by his siblings: Infants Raymond and Thaddeus, Mary Podanowski, Bridie Luczka, Johnnie Curran, Anne Obermeier, Liz Goll, Peggie Curran, Geraldine Daly and in-laws: Goretti Curran, Ben Obermeier, Frank Podanowski, Pauline Curran, Joe Daly, John Stremel, Bill Schneider, Yogi and Beryl Stremel, Martin and Norma Stremel, Mary and Lori Ann Reiswig and his great-grandson Jackson Gorges-Aichelle.

Mike’s life journey began as one of 13 children of the Curran family in Boho before the family moved to a row house on Church Road in Castlerea. Mike had dreams of a new beginning in Canada and in 1954, at the age of 21, he left from Cobh, Ireland by ship, with his younger sister Anne to meet his other sister Mary who had already settled in Vernon, BC. Papa tells the tale, as he arrived in Halifax Harbour he saw the sign “Drink Canada Dry” and in typical Papa fashion he teased, he’s been trying ever since. He settled in Vernon working with his brother-in-law Frank Podanowski logging with horses, which became his lifelong career and passion.

Mike met Helen Stremel in 1956 on a blind date set up by friends. It was within a few months that the crazy Irishman and Helen were engaged to be married. On September 7, 1957, Mike married his true love, Helen. Mike and Helen moved to Kelowna, BC in 1959 to be closer to Helen’s family after her father, George, died. At this time Mike had begun working with his brother-in-law Bill Schneider of Schneider Logging as a Heel Boom Loader Operator. In 1962, they found a home of their own and settled on 862 Walrod Street. This remained their family home for 42 years. George Thomas was born in 1962 and Patricia Anne followed in 1964. Many tales of back yard parties, friendly adventures, and Sunday night dinners took place at the Curran family home.

Mike was a very hard worker and awoke every morning at 4:30 am to begin his day in the bush. For many years he was a logger but soon became the lead hand and bush boss for Schneider Logging and later Duncan Logging. He was trained in first aid and his truck was a mobile unit, outfitted with welders and equipment to keep the machines running while in the bush. His knowledge and ability to lead made him a respected member of the forestry community and champion of the environment. Mike taught the next generation how to love the forest and the environment and was a guest instructor for years to the students of the RSS forestry program.

As the children aged, Mike was a devoted father and family man. He attended every event faithfully as a supporter and cheerleader, always with camera in hand. A true Irishman, Mike guided the children to love music as much as he did. Sunday mornings were filled with a hearty breakfast, listening to Irish music and attending mass at St. Pius X. Papa insisted the children learn to play an instrument and to this day George is wondering what 5-year-old chooses to play the accordion? Patty learned to play the classical guitar and sing which would turn into her passion and one of her careers. His love of music has transcended the generations, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren play and sing with his same enthusiasm.  Weekends were filled with volunteer activities, camping, fishing, dancing, bowling, and curling where Mike was always the leader, player, coach, driver, or fan.

Papa was selfless in his service to his family, his community, and church. Tens of thousands of eggs, burgers, and church functions sponsored by The Knights of Columbus saw Papa dawning an apron in front of a grill or BBQ. Mike proudly served as a Fourth Degree Knight and Grand Knight for many years acting as a support for those in need of a helping hand. Any weekend would see him helping people move, fundraising, deliveries of wood, or Christmas trees to church parishioners where Mike would share a beer and a visit. Mike was also instrumental in building the playground across from their Walrod home at Gordon Elementary as well as he played a major role in the origins of the Columbus Housing Society.

As another part of his community service, Mike was the first president of the Okanagan Irish Society. The group acted as a welcoming place to fellow Irish folk who had made their way to the valley. The group would gather and tell Irish tales, sing and dance, and always remember their roots. It was the one place where Irish accents and sayings were always understood.

As the years passed and the children grew and the grandchildren came, Nana and Papa were the core foundation of the Curran family. Papa, a true baby whisperer, was the ever-present, calm, loving, playful grandparent that could quell the tears of the most upset child, telling them they would be better before they were married. Each child felt special and loved by Nana and Papa as they had a huge role in their upbringing. In 2004, Mike and Helen shared a home with George and Sandra where he was an integral part of their family for the last 16 years. Together Mike and Helen raised and loved all of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren every day.

In 2017, Mike and Helen celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary surrounded by their family and friends. It is easy to see their loving influence on those closest to them. Each one of us is more Irish than we really are because of Papa’s way. He loved to gather and to celebrate family and friends and would relish in a chance to bring us together, have a beer and tell a tale. Mike’s humble way, selfless love and charm has graced us all. His genuine devotion to his family was his gift to us and we will cherish it forever.

An Irish Blessing
“He is not lost our dearest love,
Nor has he traveled far,
Just stepped inside home’s loveliest room
And left the door ajar”

Anonymous.

A private family service will be held at Saint Pius X Catholic Church, Kelowna BC. Please join by Livestream (see below).

If anyone wishes to donate on behalf of Michael, please consider Society of StVincent de Paul and the Alzheimer’s Society.  www.ssvpokv.ca and alzheimer.ca

A special thanks to the nursing and medical staff at Kelowna General Hospital on 4A who took very good care of our Papa in his final days. A special thanks to Joyce and Sheila for their loving ways and all of the staff as they are a true blessing to those afflicted.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

 

THIS SERVICE WILL BE LIVE STREAMED/BROADCAST ON THURSDAY, JULY 23, 2020, AT 10:30 AM

Share with Others:

Society of St. Vincent de Paul or the Alzheimer's Society Link: www.ssvpokv.ca, alzheimer.ca

 


 


Condolences

  • Coleen Reiswig says:

    We will miss you so much Uncle Mike. It was you who taught our first son to laugh. The very first time Kent ( as a baby) met you he laughed for the first time. He had previously giggled when tickled but it was you Uncle Mike that taught him humor when you placed a tiny object on his head and reacted with laughter when it fell offf and Kent thought you were so funny he laughed that sweet infectious laugh only a baby can make for the first time. We all laughed till tears ran down our faces. You brought so much laughter to so many of us in your own sweet gentle way. Thinking of you Aunty Helen, George, Patty and all your families. Love you all! Neil and Coleen.

  • Bernice Sebastian and family's Robb , Taylor and Troy says:

    Dearest Helen, George and Patty …. sending our sincere condolences to your family from ours. We all have great memories of hockey days and with times our paths crossed with our family activities, often through school and church activities. Great appreciation of Patty singing at Peters funeral and I still have people ask me about that beautiful girl and her amazing voice.
    Always caring and want you each to know our lives were enriched because of Mike so often!!!!!!. wishing each of you a caring recovery from your loss. with prayers Bernice Sebastian.

  • Betty Yarrow says:

    Dear Helen, Patty & Byron, George & Sandra, Mike was a delight to know because of his friendly, cheerful nature. Knowing him has been a pleasure & remembrance of his friendliness is a treasure to be remembered. God bless you ALL as you “lay him to rest” in the Hands of his Maker. Much love & prayers, Betty Yarrow

  • mike/audrey kelly says:

    Helen/George/Pattie, So sorry to hear the very sad news of Mike’s passing.He was very proud of his family and everything Irish. Please accept our sincere condolences and prayers, for your great loss
    Mike and Audrey.

  • Lyn Mainwaring says:

    George and Sandra and family, Gabor and I are so very sorry for the loss of your father. May you find comfort in your family at this sad time. Our thoughts are with you.

  • Billy & Katie Ryan says:

    Our deepest sympathy to Helen George Patty and all the family from Katie (mikes sister) and Billy ( brother in law ) Ireland . We will keep you all in our prayers.

  • Sharon David says:

    Dear Helen and family, I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. I am so glad I was able to know him. I will always remember his happiness and energy singing in the back row of Ceol nahEireann. He was a wonderful man.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Tracey Keegan says:

    Mike was a true gent, and he lived the most fulfilling and enriching life from Roscommon to beautiful Kelowna. His family were his pride and joy and I’ll never forget his warm welcome to the next generation of Irish emigrants when we arrived in Canada in 2011. He was and always will be an inspiration to me. May he rest in peace now, content with his life and the love he shared with Helen and all his wonderful family. He’ll be truly missed and fondly remembered for all time by those lucky enough to have crossed his path. Thinking of you Helen, Patty and George and his grandchildren who were his pride and joy in this world. Blessings and love to you all.

  • Cathy and Chris Broadbent says:

    He was a beautiful and with a great sense of humor . You were so blessed to have him as a husband and father and Grandfather.
    Wishing you all Peace

  • Jamie Treadgold says:

    My heartfelt condolences to the entire Curran family, a great father raises great children, he must have been an excellent dad.

  • Twig says:

    My Dearest Patty & Curran Family, As I read this snapshot of your Dads life … as you know I unfortunately never met Mike, however I have met his daughter who I immediately fell in love and all her children,… Thus I met Mike in spirit of the lovely children he loved and protected .. such a beautiful family Mike and Helen 🍀 His Irish pride certainly hit me through the heart!! 4 times of been there spent time with many of the Curran family. My sincerest sympathy to Helen ❤️ Patty George and rest of the Fabulous Family
    L🍀VE Twig

  • Tracey Litke says:

    So sorry for your families loss George.. hugs …what a beautiful written obituary. Your father sounded like a wonderful man. I am sure he truly will be missed.

  • Joe podanowski says:

    I am very saddened by the passing of uncle Mike and proud to have known such a fine gentleman . His legacy lives on in all of us . .May God continue to bless. us all. Joe Podanowski

  • Andrea Kelly says:

    Mike was such a nice man, he was in the Irish singing group with my mum Audrey Kelly. Just a lovely person. So sorry for your tremendous loss. Thoughts are with you.

  • Enda Daly says:

    To Helen, George, Patty and the extended Curran family in Canada we want to express our sincere condolences to you all on the death of Mike. Uncle Mike will be fondly remembered as someone with a great warmth, charm and wit and he will be sadly missed. We were last able to spend some time with Mike back in 2017 on a visit to Kelowna and he made us so welcome in his home and of course used our visit as a great excuse to break out the Jameson. Mike was full of entertaining stories and always told them with a glint in his eye. I have shared a couple of photos from our last visit where as you can see he used his baby whispering skills on his grand nieces. So long Mike we will have a whiskey in your honor

  • Dennis and Mary-Anne Schmuland says:

    Bryon and Patti. We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Praying for you at this time!! Love you!

  • Rolli Cacchioni says:

    Condolences to the Curran family on Mike’s passing . Fond memories of
    him at K of C events and hearing him sing Irish songs .

  • Sister, Paula Gallagher IHM says:

    The IHM sisters were so blessed to meet and know Mike and Helen. We carry such loving memories of times with you. We promise you our special prayers of support through these difficult days. What a wonderful, wonderful man. Thank you to your family for all you shared with us.

  • Liz Smith says:

    Dear Helen and family. I was saddened to hear of the passing of Mike. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. Warm Regards

  • Janet Slyter says:

    Dear. Helen and family, my thoughts are with you, also love and prayers.

  • Derek Ryan says:

    May Mike rest in peace secure in the knowledge that he and Helen raised a wonderful and kind family. His kindness and generosity was legendary and it was a privilege for myself and Helena to share our wedding vows in Rome together. God bless Mike. Derek and Helena

  • Carol Polasek and girls. says:

    Dear Helen and family, you are blessed with a loving family and they will help you go through this grief. Grief is not a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith. It is the price we pay for loving

  • Ed, Cheryl McCallion and family says:

    Auntie Helen , George , Patty and family’s. We are thinking of you today and holding you close with prayers and memories . Uncle Mike always made me feel very special . His open heartedness and welcomes were an example that I will continue to strive for . I am greatful for such strong influences , needing that wisdom and sense of humour more than ever these days . I was able to livestream the celebration for uncle Mike . Thank-you for that opportunity . No one knows the harsh distancing consequences of Covid more than you , and so I hope that , while we aren’t physically with you today , or in the days ahead, that you know how much we love you and cherish our family connection .

  • Karen Lutz says:

    Mrs. Curran, George, Patty and family,
    So sorry to hear of Mr. Curran’s passing. My heartfelt condolences to all.

  • Alan Ryan says:

    RIP Uncle Mike. Your smile still warms us from your new place in Heaven. You were 24 carat gold, not the kind found in a jewellery store, but the kind that cherishes family, cares for community, and builds countries like your adopted home of Canada. We will always think of you as that rare kind of person we could all try and learn from. Oh, that just a little of your charm, wit, and presence could rub off on us. Until we all meet again, Alan, Edith, Clodagh, Laura and Conor in County Cork, Ireland.

  • Rob Lutz says:

    Mrs Curran, George, Patty and families, My family grew up in the north end as well, went to school across the street and spent many a day playing at their house. Our deepest sympathies to you all as you go through this time of sorrow. Rob Lutz

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