William Joseph "Joe" McCurry, a retired public health expert who was active in his church and local politics, died peacefully at his home in Abbeville July 31. He was 85.
Born in Abbeville, McCurry was the son of the late Lloyd B. McCurry and Lucille Whitten McCurry.
McCurry spent a 30-year career in the U.S. Public Health Service, later the Centers for Disease Control, as part of a vanguard group of public health advisors who provided assistance to state health departments on the control of communicable diseases, especially venereal disease and tuberculosis. He was part of an elite team known as the "Watsonians" named for CDC Deputy Director William Watson which successfully combated outbreaks of VD in the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War.
McCurry went on to top administrative posts in several states, concluding his career as a senior executive in San Francisco with responsibility for programs across the western states and the Pacific trust territories.
Prior to joining the federal civil service, McCurry served in China at the end of World War II as a U.S. Marine, First Division deployed to the coastal areas of China during efforts to repatriate Japanese citizens to the mainland and protect U.S. installations as civil war broke out between Chinese nationalists and communists.
Educated at Spartanburg Methodist College and Erskine College, McCurry loved music and sang in the choir at Abbeville Presbyterian Church where he was a member of the session, and an adult Sunday school teacher. He was also active in the Abbeville County Democratic Party and served on the state party's central committee and as an alternate delegate to the national party's convention in 2000.
He was an avid golfer and outdoorsman, who enjoyed working in the woods around his family's home off Island Ford Road in the Sharon District of Abbeville.
McCurry is survived by his mother, 103, of Abbeville; his beloved wife of 59 years Rosemary who resides at the home; two sisters, Alice Wheeler of Vienna, VA and Norma Mattison of Monticello, GA; two sons Michael D. McCurry of Kensington, MD and his wife Debra and their children William, Marjorie and Christopher; and David S. McCurry of Greenville and his wife Bonnie Mullinix and their children Scott, Schalon, and Kevin.
Services will be held Sunday, August 5 at 2:00 PM at Abbeville Presbyterian Church. The family will receive visitors Saturday August 4 from 6-8pm at the Chandler-Jackson Funeral Home in Abbeville, which is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites donations to the Abbeville Presbyterian Church PO Box 733 Abbeville, SC 29620 (www.abbevillepres.org) and Hospice Care of the Piedmont 408 West Alexander Ave. Greenwood, SC 29646 (www.hospicepiedmont.org).