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A plaque hangs in the atrium of the mechanical engineering building in honor of Keys and Joan Curry.

A plaque hangs in the atrium of the mechanical engineering building in honor of Keys and Joan Curry.
Click on the image for a larger version, or read a description of the image.

UTME alumnus Keys Curry passed away in his home in Houston, TX on April 14th. Mr. Curry was a charter member of the Mechanical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni, and a beloved supporter of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

The following is a selection from his obituary, originally published in the Houston Chronicle on April 25th, 2010.


Keys Curry was one of the students involved in the excavation of the original T-Room in Taylor Hall in 1952.

Keys Curry was one of the students involved in the excavation of the original T-Room in Taylor Hall in 1952.

Keys Alexander Curry, Jr. passed away at his home on April 14, 2010.

The family takes comfort in knowing that Keys is now with his wife and younger son in the presence of God. His spirit triumphed over the leukemia that weakened his body. Keys was devoted to his wife of 49 years, Joan FitzGerald Curry, who predeceased him in 2007. His younger son, John FitzGerald Curry, Esq. passed away last year at the age of 47. Keys is survived by one son, one daughter, two grandchildren, two sisters, and other relatives.

Keys Curry

Born in San Angelo, Texas, on June 25, 1935, to Keys Alexander Curry, Sr. and Gretna Gilbert, Keys moved to Midland, Texas, as a young boy. After graduating from Midland High School, he attended the University of Texas at Austin. During his time at UT, Keys was elected to the Tau Beta Pi Engineering and the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Societies, made Dean's List, and was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He graduated with a MSME in 1958. Keys married his high school and college sweetheart, Joan FitzGerald, on June 15, 1958. They began their married life in California where Keys proudly served in the U.S. Navy (1958-60) and the U.S. Naval Reserve (1960-66). Keys and Joan moved to Houston, Texas in 1961, where they lived the rest of their lives.

Keys had a long, successful history of combining his engineering background with skillful entrepreneurship. He achieved licensure as a Texas professional engineer and a Texas real estate broker and was involved in enterprises dealing in computer software, mineral acquisition, engineering, and power generation. In 1967, he achieved his MBA from the University of Houston, and the following year he launched Land Value Dynamics, Inc., a computer software firm, where he held the posts of founder, president and member of the board of directors. Two years later, he became founder, vice president and executive committee member of Steve T. Cochran and Associates, Inc. His next venture was as founder, president, and member of the board of directors of Texas Resource Development Corporation, a mineral acquisitions firm. From 1978-87, he held various executive positions with Power Systems Engineering, Inc., that launched a successful initial public offering in 1986 as PSE Inc., rising to become president and chief operating officer from 1987-89.

A plaque, honoring Keys and Joan Curry

A plaque, honoring Keys and Joan Curry

Between 1989 and 1997, he served as executive vice president and then chief operating officer of Destec Energy, Inc., an independent power firm specializing in combined cycle electric power generation and clean coal technology. He was a member of the National Petroleum Council from 1987-97.

Keys' belief in and strong commitment to education was reflected in a wide range of College-related and University-wide involvement and leadership roles. He was active in recruiting talented Houston-area high school students to engineering at UT as well as to the business school at the U of H. Keys was a member of the UT Chancellor's Council; Distinguished Graduate of the Cockrell School of Engineering; Mechanical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni Charter Member; Littlefield Society; President's Associates; Texas Exes Life Member; and the Texas Leadership Society. He was a two-time past chair of the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council and a Friend of Alec. In 1999, he and his wife established the Keys and Joan Curry/Cullen Trust Chair in Engineering. Keys served on the Board of Directors of the Texas Alpha Endowment Fund, Inc. (Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity) and was a founding member of their Houston Alumni Association. Since 2007, he also served on the UT College of Liberal Arts Advisory Council and established two significant endowments in the Plan II Honors Program: The Joan F. and John F. Curry Endowed Presidential Scholarships.

Keys Curry, Jr. with his family

Keys Curry, Jr. with his family

In addition to his family, Keys will be remembered by many loving friends and colleagues. Known for his business acuity, leadership, loyalty, discipline and commitment, Keys was a widely respected public speaker and consummate storyteller. His humor, intelligence, generosity and service leave a legacy that will continue to reach forward for many generations to come. The family thanks Dr. Hagop M. Kantarjian and his staff at M.D. Anderson for their expertise and dedication in the fight to save and prolong his precious life.

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