A POPULAR member of the Waterville community has passed away leaving behind an extraordinary legacy of a zest for life and for living despite a horrific accident that left him paralysed from the neck down for over three decades.
Although the death last Friday of John Curran, of Toor, Waterville, has cast a dark shadow over the local community and beyond, his life story and his positive reaction to the serious accident that befell him is truly inspirational.
Married to Margaret, and father to Carmel, Mike, Claire and Catherine, John suffered severe injuries as a result of a fall from a roof in 1978.
At the time of John's accident, he and Margaret were parents to four young children under ten years of age and their youngest was just five weeks old when the accident happened.
The unfortunate accident did not stop John in his roles as husband, father, author and valued member of the Waterville community.
In 1993 John was named Kerry Association in Dublin "Person of the Year", while in 2007 his wife Margaret was presented with the accolade of "Carer of the Year" for her dedication to her husband's care.
John, Margaret, the Curran family and their story were the subject of an RTÉ Would You Believe documentary entitled A Fall From Heaven On Earth, which recounted how the couple had "come full circle, from a happy couple rearing young kids in the 1970s in glorious Waterville to two individuals forced to deal with, and make sense of, a tragic accident that changed their lives forever; to a retired couple who are an inspiration to anyone who meets them."
Despite the challenges that presented themselves, John still managed to write two books - Just My Luck and Tides of Change.
Kerry GAA legend and friend of the Curran family, Mick O'Dwyer this week paid tribute to John, his wife and their children.
"People like John are such a rarity in life. Of course he had a wonderful woman by his side, his wife Margaret," he said. "He won the Kerry Person of the Year and Margaret won Carer of the Year, both of which were welldeserved."
"John was a very hard worker in his time. He played football and hurling for a club in Gloucester when he was there and he was one of the mainstays of their team. Mind you, I heard that he was a dangerous man with a hurl!" Micko remarked.
"When he came back to Ireland, he got involved in the community in every way possible. He was a marvelous worker and the accident was a very bad break to get, for a man with a young family.
"But it's amazing how he got on with life and it's amazing how the whole family got on with life. They did very well, the whole lot of them. It's a great sign of the family. They grew up around him and that was very important." John Curran was laid to rest in Derrynane Abbey on Monday following Requiem Mass in Lohar Church.