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Long Island remembers

Michael Sean Curtin

  • Age: 45
  • Employer: NYPD
  • Place of death: Unknown
  • Community: Medford
  • County: Suffolk

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About Michael Curtin

This profile was originally published in 2001/2002

Helga Curtin of Medford turned 40 on Sept. 11. Her husband, Michael, planned a small get-together with 10 of the couple's closest friends on the previous Friday night since neither could afford a late night on Tuesday.

After returning from work on the 11th, Curtin, 45, was to cook his wife "a nice meal," his wife said. But his plan never came to fruition.

A member of Harlem-based Emergency Service Unit Truck 2 of the New York City Police Department, Michael Sean Curtin of Medford is presumed dead in the World Trade Center attacks. He was last heard from that morning when he phoned his wife to wish her a happy birthday, his wife said.

Born in Liberty, N.Y., Curtin's family moved to Long Island when he was a child. He graduated from Rocky Point High School in 1975 and enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after. Curtin was called to active duty for the next 12 years and was discharged last year with the rank of sergeant major.

Somewhere between basic training and active duty, Curtin found time for love. He and his wife met on Christmas Eve 1979 on Parris Island. "I went down there with roommates over Christmas Eve break," his wife said. "One of them was dating Michael's roommate, so that's how we met."

A Marine through and through, Curtin held his family to a staunch standard of conduct, his wife said. But there were no push-ups for insubordination or three-mile runs for misbehavior. "He always stressed loyalty and discipline," his wife said. "But it was never done aggressively."

An avid local sports fan, Curtin seldom sat in front of a television to watch a game. Instead, he would attend as many of his daughters' basketball, field hockey, volleyball, soccer and lacrosse games as he could, his wife said. "The only sports he ever really watched were when his kids played."

She described her husband as "a very involved father," who "always encouraged his kids to do whatever they wanted to do."

The couple's three daughters - Jennifer, 15, Erika, 14, and Heather, 12 - have endured the holidays without their father, she said. "The holidays have been awful," she said. But, she said, the family has faced reality, and is "trying to get through things day by day."

But their void is felt, nonetheless. "We always worked with one another, and I always bounced my thoughts off of him," she said. "We had a genuine respect. I would always turn to him, and now he's not there to turn to. The thing I miss the most about him is him." -- Nick Iyer

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