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(courtesy of "Andy")
James Howard Cureton, Jr., 86, retired deputy fire chief for the City of Tallahassee, died Thursday, January 8, 2009 in Tallahassee following a lengthy illness. A graveside service will be 1:30 p.m. EST Sat., Jan. 10, at Oakland Cemetery. Culley's MeadowWood Funeral Home, Riggins Road Chapel (850-877-8191) is handling arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested contributions be made to the charity of your choice.

James was born May 17, 1922 in Tucson, Ariz. and was a lifelong resident of Tallahassee. He graduated from Leon High School and volunteered for the Tallahassee Fire Department before enlisting in the U.S. Army. During World War II, James served in both the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne. He jumped behind the enemy lines the day before "D" Day, received a Bronze Star medal for service during the Invasion of Holland and was wounded in combat during the Battle of Bastone. He retired from the military on August 14, 1945 at the rank of Private First Class.

James married the love of his life, the former Marguerite Strauss, on Valentine's Day, 1947 and started his career with the Tallahassee Fire Department. He retired at the rank of Deputy Chief in 1977. Among other accomplishments, James was founder and head of the Fire Prevention Bureau, which was responsible for education and enforcement. During his retirement, James enjoyed spending time at the coast of Alligator Point, working on carpentry projects and visiting with his children.

In addition to his wife, James is survived by five children, Paul Cureton (Betty), Judy Brown (Berry), Alex Cureton (Vicki), Christine Fair (Billy) and Kenneth Cureton; 7 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. James was preceded in death by his mother, Jessie Marie Cureton; a brother, Douglas Dixon Cureton; his sisters, Francis Milford and Louise Brand; and his beloved grandson, Nicholas Cureton.

[Published in Tallahassee Democrat on January 9, 2009.]

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