Dennis James Curley, of Niceville, passed away at his home on September 3, 2021. He was an amazing man that will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved him.
He was born January 25, 1944, to William and Kathryn Curley in Bronx, New York. His father, a New York policeman, was soon transferred to the Catskills in upstate New York where Dennis grew up in the rural mountainous environment. It was there where he grew his passion of the outdoors. He graduated from Tri-Valley Central High School in Grahamsville, New York in 1961. He went on to pursue a degree in Industrial Technology from New York University.
Dennis entered government service in June 1964 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was a Vietnam veteran and served proudly aboard the USS Providence, a guided missile cruiser home-ported in Long Beach California, and the USS Camden, a fast attack fleet support ship home ported in Bremerton Washington.
In 1968 he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy and returned to Florida to pursue his education at Florida State University. He graduated in June 1971, with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and was immediately selected as a new civilian hire at Eglin Air Force Base.
His first assignment was the 3246th Test Wing as a test engineer in the Electro-Optical Systems Test Division. Throughout his distinguished career he held many positions including chief engineer for the WASP missile, AIM 9M+ missile, and new munitions development to support the Special Operations Force. In 1998, Dennis was promoted to the position of Technical Director for the Area Attack Systems Program Office, where he oversaw the introduction of four major weapon systems into production. It was with great pride and a sense of accomplishment that he concluded over 35 years of combined government service in September 2002.
In retirement, he kept busy with his outdoor hobbies, which included scuba diving, fishing, and hunting. He would often comment that he lived in paradise. He volunteered as a driver for the Disabled American Veterans Department; logging 25K miles in over 13 years. Dennis was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. A true Irish gentleman, he would light up a room when he walked in.
Dennis is survived by his wife of 54 years, Pat Curley; daughter Dawn Daniel and her husband Mike of Witchita Falls, TX; son Denny and his wife Carla of Boise, ID; and siblings Mary, Bill, and Mike of NY. He was dearly loved by his 11 grandchildren.
The family is planning a celebration of Dennis’ life in October. An update will be posted with the details.
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