Hamilton County


T/5 Thurber Freeborn Curran





According to a letter received by relatives from T/5 Thurber Curran of Williams, he and three other Williams servicemen recently had a reunion in Hawaii. The other three—all former schoolmates of Curran—included Lt. Harold Johnson, Pfc. Donald Cheyne and Petty Officer 2nd Class Gilbert Snyder.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - April 4, 1945

Thurber Freeborn Curran was born Nov. 2, 1911. He was raised as a foster child of Charlie and Anna McLaughlin of Blairsburg, IA. He died Apr. 4, 2002 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery, Webster City, IA.

Thurber served in WWII in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps, serving two tours of duty in each. He was awarded a number of medals for his wartime service.


THURBER FREEBORN CURRAN, 90, died Thurs. evening, April 4, 2002 at the Hamilton Hospital in Webster City. Funeral services will be held Monday, April 8, at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 2 p.m. Viewing will be at Foster Funeral Home Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. Burial will be in the Graceland Cemetery.

Born Nov 2, 1911, location unknown, he spent his first years in Des Moines and at the age of 7 was selling newspapers on the street corners in downtown Des Moines. He lived in numerous homes, foster homes and an orphanage before a program called "Take a City Child to the Country for the Summer" originated in Des Moines. Thanks to that newspaper article, Charlie and Anna McLaughlin of Blairsburg, Ia, brought him to their farm for the summer and continued to raise him as a foster child through high school.
He married Esther M.L. Christensen of Jewell, Ia, Aug. 14, 1941, in St Louis, MO. He then served in WWII in both Army and the Marines, serving two tours of duty in each. He was awarded a number of medals for his wartime service.

Having worked as a fuel tank corpsman in the service, he continued in this trade upon discharge, working for Phillips 66 first in Jewell and then in Webster City for over 53 years. Due to his love of his work and people he soon became "the Gum man" as he gave first Juicy Fruit and then Big Red gum to his customers' children after a "please" and "thank you". Up to the day he went to be with his wife and son, he continued to pass out Big Red gum to people everywhere he went, often times to strangers in business places but only after asking the children's parents if they could have the gum. He had received numerous awards from Phillips 66, Purolator, and Philheat for his outstanding customer service, promotional activities, and salesmanship.

His life was his wife,, his children, Steven and Jennifer, and his commitment to Phillips 66- his heart must be in the shape of Phillips 66 emblem! He loved life and enjoyed doing so much for others.

He was "welcomed to his new home" by family members who preceded him in death and his wife Esther(3/02, his son Steven (3/82, a son-in-law David Calvert (3/93).

He is survived by his daughter Jennifer Jefferson of Webster City; daughter-in-law Gloria Curran of Ames; grandsons, Daniel Riggs of Coweta, OK, Shea Jefferson(address unknown), Matthew Curran of Ames; granddaughter Stephanie Redderson of Rochester, MN., and a foster sister Lorraine Stanton of Cable, WI; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ, American Legion Post #191 and the B.P.O.E.(Elks)
He wished to be with his wife, Esther since her passing in 2002, and this journey has now been completed. Do not mourn his death--hold tight to the memories you have of "Bert, the Gum Man"-and rejoice in his new beginnings.
Memorial gifs may be make to Hamilton County Hospice, Hamilton County Hospice Respite (volunteers), or Boys and Girls Town, Boys Town, NE.

Source: ancestry.com