U.S. District Court Judge Neal P. McCurn was a person of character, integrity and generosity. And as the father of six children he was also an example of patience, understanding and compassion. Throughout his tenure at the U.S. District Court in Syracuse, Neal was known for treating everyone who passed through his courtroom with respect and dignity. He loved his profession and the people he encountered so much that he worked every day well into his 80s.
At home, Neal relished the company of family and friends. Family truly was the center of Neal’s life. He and his wife Nancy attended church and sent their children to school at Most Holy Rosary Parish, where Neal went to school as a child. They created a home where challenges were met with good-natured humor and Christmas dinner meant a table set for 30 people.
Around the time Neal was considering retirement, he established the McCurn Family Fund, which would be funded through his estate. He wanted his grown children to use it to help organizations that mirrored the values that he and Nancy taught them growing up.
Neal was involved with so many civic and charitable organizations that when he passed away in 2014 at age 88 his family could not fit a full listing of them in his obituary. His children said that the simplicity of directing his estate to one charity, which could then in turn support others, appealed to him.
In their shared remembrance of their dad, Neal’s children said that he genuinely led by example. “By establishing this fund and letting us administer his legacy, he was really giving a gift to his children as well; he taught us the joy of giving to others and inspired us to do the same in our own lives.”
The first grant the McCurn children made was to Most Holy Rosary School to upgrade its computer lab. It was especially meaningful for them to give back to an institution that held such a special place in their family’s history.
Neal’s daughter, Susan, said, “One of the most pleasant gatherings my siblings and I have every year is getting together to discuss and decide about our annual giving through dad’s legacy fund.”