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Home » Campus News Latest » Obituaries » Eleanor Williams Curry ’76

Eleanor Williams Curry, age 92, passed away peacefully on March 29, 2020 at Lodi Hospital in California. She was predeceased by her loving husband of 67 years, Richmond Earl Curry. Born on February 4, 1928 in St. Louis, MO to Ray and Orphelia Williams.

Eleanor faced many challenges in her life. Despite losing both of her parents by the age of 16, she finished high school. Eleanor’s optimism, ability to see the best in everyone and religious faith led her through difficult times to a rich and meaningful life. During her high school years, she met the love of her life, Richmond. 

After getting married in 1946, she moved her growing family to the San Francisco bay area, where she resided for the majority of her life in California. She raised her family, which grew to include eight children, attended college, and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Human Relations from Antioch College in 1976.

Eleanor worked as a community child advocate volunteer for over 48 years, while forging an impressive career, working for the San Mateo Elementary School District as Human Relations Specialist, KSOL Radio as Broadcaster and Public Affairs Director, with the San Mateo County Human Relations Commission as Senior Field Representative/Civil Law Investigator, as well as Officer and Board Member of The United Way of the Bay Area.

She was founder of Black Women in County Government, President of Advisory Council on Women in San Mateo County, Board Member of Bay Area Black Unite Fund, Founder/Chair McNair Scholars Project, Board Member of Bay Area Urban League, San Francisco, Chair, Communications Committee, American Cancer Society, Burlingame, Founder and Co-Chair, Women’s Hall of Fame and Board Member of San Mateo County Mental Health Advisory Board and more.

Eleanor’s countless awards included John W. Gardner Distinguished Leadership Award, The United Way, American Cancer Society, Bramson Institute, Suicide Prevention Award, and the Friend for Life Abe Lincoln National Award. Eleanor carried the 1996 Olympic Torch thru the streets of San Francisco, exemplify her extraordinary achievements and community contributions. 

She created and performed a one-woman production, based on her book “A Liberated Woman from the Ghetto” she would go on to author four additional books; “Letters to my Grandmother”, “Racial Stories”, “The Courageous Person’s Guide to Friendship”, and “I Never Knew my Place”. A true point of pride for Eleanor was her founding of the “Eleanor Curry Fund for Girls and Women”, a scholarship fund for low-income women in San Mateo County.

Eleanor loved spending time with her family and friends. All who were fortunate to know her were captivated by her stories, enchanted by her effervescent personality, and in awe of her energy and zest for life. Eleanor loved to dance, work on puzzles, read, sew and write. She was never known to raise her voice and always found humor and joy in her life. Eleanor created opportunities for people where none existed. Her life and generous spirit were an inspiration and she leaves a legacy that will carry on for generations to come.

Eleanor’s philosophy can be summarized with her own words, “Life is full of lines drawn to keep people apart, in groups, in neighborhoods, in racial divisions, in genders. I like to influence erasing such lines.” 

Eleanor leaves behind seven children: Brenda Davis (Bruno), Barbara Heno (Frank); Richmond Curry Jr (Carol); Arnold Curry (Laurie); William Curry (Mindy); Paul Curry (Gloria); and David Curry. She was predeceased by her beloved daughter Bonnie. “Mama Curry” as she was known, is survived by twenty-five grandchildren, and fifteen great grandchildren. 

Eleanor was laid to rest on April 22, 2020 at Olivet Memorial Park, 1601 Hillside Blvd, in Colma, California 94014. Celebration of Life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the “Curry Award for Girls and Young Women Scholarship” through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, 2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300, Mountain View, CA, 94040-1498,