Helen Doughty Curran
December 14, 1931 – June 5, 2018

 helenQUEENS - Helen Doughty Curran of Queens N.Y. entered into eternal life on June 5, 2018, at the Mount Sinai Queens Hospital after suffering a stroke and acquiring MRSA while being hospitalized.

She was born Dec. 14, 1931, to Charlotte and Calvin Edmund Doughty Senior at the old Doughty homestead on the West End of Chebeaugue Island and attended the one-room West End Schoolhouse. In the third grade, she read the poem HIGH FLIGHT, and that very afternoon arrived home and informed her parents that when she grew up she would be moving to New York City and would work as an air hostess, a position now referred to as flight attendant. She lived her dream.

At her father's insistence she attended Portland High School graduating in 1951. Although she was awarded a partial scholarship to the University of Maine she chose to work for one year in the Portland area to save money for her tuition at the Aviation Traning School in Boston. She was most fortuante to have been able to stay with her Aunt Harriet in Winthrop Mass. and commute to her school in Boston. She was thrilled to have been hired by Northeast Airlines upon graduation from Aviation Training School and was assigned to New York's Laguardia Airport. It was here that she would meet her future husband, Thomas Patrick Curran Senior, then employed by the New York Telephone Company as a teletype technician.

With Helen spurring him on, Thomas rose through the ranks retiring in 1984 after a 37 year career with the Bell System. He ended his career as an acting Division Manger with over 800 employees reporting to him. He oversaw the telecommunication systems for the entire Southern District of Manhattan, included the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the World Trade Center. They married on Jan. 29,1955, and were divorced in April 1988.

While rearing her four children, Helen returned to school with the aspiration of attaining her college degree. She again lived her dream. She was employed as an assistant archivist for the Paulist Fathers, The American Bible Society, and the JC PENNEY company at its' corporate headquarters then located on Sixth Avenue in New York City. After being highley recommended by her then supervisor Ms. Joan Gosnell, Helen was chosen by the Penney family to succeed E. Virginia Mowry, after her passing, to be the social secretary to Mrs. James Cash Penney the widow of he company's founder, Mr. James Cash Penney, who resided on Park Avenue. She would often look back with fondness on her days at both the Penney Corporate Offices as well as time spent with Mrs. Penney at her Park Avenue apartment. She and Mrs. Penney grew to be very fond of one another. After Mrs. Penney's passing the Penney family asked Helen to stay on for an additional year to oversee the administration and distribution of Mrs. Penney's estate. This was a herculean task as Mrs. Penny's possessions were distributed to family members throughout the United States. She thoroughly enjoyed working for the Penney family and the Penny Company and would often remark that the Penny fortune was perhaps one of the few fortunes made in America without bloodshed. Mr. Penney started the company with the foundation of the GOLDEN RULE, which was the name of his first dry goods store in Kemmerer, Wyoming Her relationship with the Penney family continued until her June 2018 passing.

Helen was then called upon by the Archdiocese of New York to assist Msgr. Florance Cohalan a renown historian and retired priest in the Archdiocese who authored the History of the Arcdiocese of New York They too grew very close to one another and she would often remark regarding Msgr Cohalan's sterling character much like that of her father. He was a man of his word. She remained with Msgr Cohalan until his passing in October 2001, and was with him when he entered eternal life.

Helen is survived by her four children, Pam Curran of Chebeague Island, Thomas P. Curran Jr. (Darlene) and their children Thomas P. Curran, lll, and Kristen Ann Curran all of Mahopac, N.Y, Kevin Curran and wife Debra, formerly of Scarborough, and Stephanie Curran who was her primary care giver with whom she resided in Queens N.Y.

She is also survived by her sisters-in-law, Ms. Catherine Curran of Hicksville, N.Y., Elaine Doughty of Hollis Center, Maine, and Judy Doughty of Chebeague Island.

She would often reminisce about the happy times she spent at Bennett's Cove on Chebeague with her lifelong friend, Louise Rich-Todd. She said the happiest times of her life were spent at Bennett's Cove and would forward with fondness to returning home to Chebeague Island and the happy times shared with the extended Doughty family, as well as her friends whom she had known since childhood.

She was a blessing to each and every life she touched, always offering to lend a helping hand. We, her children, were blessed beyond words to call her MOTHER. She did her best to instill in us the values she lived by, hard work, honesty, integrity, and the importance of doing one's best each and every day. She would say, if you give to the world the best you've got, the best will come back to you. Her life is proof positive that it is not where you come from but where you are going. She went from the humble beginnings of the one room West End Schoolhouse on Chebeague Island, to occupying the office adjacent to that of the CEO of the JC PENNEY company in New York City. She often spoke of the values her parents instilled in her growing up on Chebeague and in Portland. Those values paralleled Mr. Penney's Golden Rule.

Stephanie Curran wishes to acknowlege those who assisted her in her last mile of life particularly Northwell Health Physician Partners, Dr Mark Schiffer-Cardiology, Dr Stephen J Nicholas -Orthopedics, Dr Spyros Mezitis -Endocrinolgy, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the caring compassionate staff at Regal Heights Rehabilitation, New York City's unsung heroes the EMT'S and Paramedics of the FDNY whose intervention at our home has repeatedly saved our lives, as well as the NYPD'S 115th precinct detective squad, you truly are the greatest detectives in the world.

Please join us on Chebeague Island on Saturday, June 8, 2019, to share your memories of this remarkable woman we were fortunate to call MOTHER.

The Curran family wishes to express their sincere appreciation to the Chebegue Transportation Company for their assist in transporting attendees free of charge from the mainland to Chebeague Island for her final farewell. Attendees are strongly encouraged to arrive at the CTC's satellite parking lot on Route One no later than 9:30 to ensure a timely arrival at the Cousin's Island wharf for the 10:15 departure of the ferry to the Stone Pier at Chebeague Island.

Arrangements for her final journey home have been entrusted to Mr. Thomas Antonopoulous, Director of Farenga Funeral Home, Astoria, N.Y. with an assist in Maine by Conroy Tully Walker, State Street, Portland. Stephanie also wishes to express the debt of gratitude owed to the entire staff at Farenga Funeral Home, particularly Gus and Tommy Antonopoulous. Your genuine care, concern, generosity of spirit, and grace will never be forgotten. You got me through the most difficult challenge I have ever faced. She would also like to thank her extended family in Maine, the Curran family, Hicksville NY, her esteemed colleagues at the Fifth Avenue Flagship of Lord and Taylor, her Queens, N.Y. neighbors, and friends near and far. Honorable mention goes to her dear friend, Ms. Esmerelda Hidalgo, who has gone above and beyond to lessen her burden of sorrow. From the bottom of my heart, you have all been bright beacons of light during one of the darkest hours of my life. Godspeed!

(printed in Portland Press Herald 2/17/19)

Helen Doughty Curran of East Elmhurst, NY peacefully passed into eternal life on June 5th, 2018. Surrounded by her daughters and enveloped in love, the Light came for her in the late afternoon. Helen lived 86 full years.

She was born to Charlotte and Calvin Doughty of Chebeague Island, Maine on December 14, 1931. Helen enjoyed a childhood of freedom in nature on Chebeague Island though World War interrupted some of her childhood freedom when military installations came to Chebeague.

She went to Island and Portland Schools, graduating from Portland High School in 1951.  After hearing the poem “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, she declared to her parents that she was going to be an air hostess. She was 10 or 11 at the time. Full of spunk and with a love of life, Helen did just that. She was hired by North East Airlines after training in Boston and moved to New York in 1953. She was known as the ‘responsible one’ amongst her flight attendant roommates.

In 1954, she met Thomas Curran and they married in January of 1955. In those years, air hostesses were not permitted to be married and Helen was required to end her flight attendant career to begin her marriage.

They resided in New York where they raised their four children. Within the family, Helen was the encourager of high standards, a strong champion of learning and oftentimes strict. She saw that her children had dance, music and sports lessons and great educations.  Though there were lots of outings to beaches both in New York and on Chebeague, there were also weekly outings to the Metropolitan Museum followed by jaunts in Central Park.

Helen stood for justice.  She appreciated the humanities and enjoyed her collection of paintings and books. She was a life-long learner attending college courses until her health no longer permitted. She appreciated fashion and enjoyed the seasonal releases of new designs. Opera was a favorite pastime and she was way ahead of her time with her study of color. She loved the great soups at Bergdorf Goodman, the advice of Dr. Oz, reruns of In the Heat of the Night and she loved to work. During her children’s childhoods, she kept fit with Jack LaLane and took up running in the 70s. She did not say yes when she meant no and she very much valued forthright communication. She had a fine eye for beauty and symmetry. The impeccable grooming required during her flight attendant days never left her.

In addition to family life, she engaged in four careers working until her 70s and endearing herself to every employer. As an archivist for the Paulist Fathers, she catalogued historical documents. As the personal assistant to a renowned NY historian, she read to him, oversaw his care and welcomed his visitors.  As social secretary to a famous New Yorker, she oversaw social engagements and household staff.  It was the air hostessing years that brought her a type of independence that was rare for women of the 1950s.

When she was a stewardess, she converted to Catholicism. She attended the School of Practical Philosophy with her daughter Pam in the late 70s and with her daughter Stephanie in 2016 and 2017. When Pam wanted to meet the Maharishsi Mahesh Yogi as a teen, Helen not only signed the permission slip, she also attended the Maharishi’s meditation training. Spiritual life was important to her.

She gravitated to the sea as well as the sky. Helen adored Bennetts Cove on Chebeague Island, saying that some of the happiest days of her life were spent there with the Rich sisters. Helen kept abreast of happenings along the Maine coast and she became a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council of Maine to help protect it.

Tom and Helen divorced in 1988. Afterwards, she lived with her daughter, Stephanie. Stephanie shared daily life with her and Helen relied on her more and more as her illnesses progressed. Stephanie got her to medical appointments, indulged her sweet tooth, kept the house, saw to her nutrition and medications and enjoyed her company. Her passing leaves a void for many who knew her but especially Stephanie.

Helen leaves behind her children Pamela Curran, Stephanie Curran, Thomas P. Curran Jr. and Kevin Curran; and two grand-children, Thomas P. Curran III and Kristen Curran. She was pre-deceased by her parents, her three siblings, Norma, Calvin and Emery and many friends who were dear to her. She especially missed her cousins, Fippy Ferrelli, Marion Lounsbury, Louise Todd and Minnie MacNeil, her Aunt Leona Boxer and her brother-in-law, Frank Curran, who also pre-deceased her.

Helen’s life will be celebrated on June 16, 2018 at 1:00 at the Farenga Funeral Home in Astoria, NY.  A Celebration of Life will take place on Chebeague Island in July and  she will be laid to rest with her parents on Chebeague Island in a private committal.  In lieu of flowers, donations to the Natural Resources Defense Council of Maine are appreciated.