Perfect attendance in anything is rare. 45-years of perfect attendance is an achievement. Jay Curley joined the Wakefield Rotary Club in 1971 and it was clear to him, that he wanted to make a commitment. That commitment to service above self has led him to a 45-year record of perfect attendance with the club, an achievement that the club recently recognized by inviting Curley to talk about his experiences in family, career and Rotary.
Born with a passion for athletics, Curley played local hockey and baseball as a child and teen. A gifted athlete, he attended Arizona State on a baseball scholarship where he majored in chemistry, hoping to one day go into the medical field. Attending school during an active draft, Curley joined the Army ROTC in college. He was preparing to live his dream of professional baseball, having been drafted by Baltimore, when he got notification of his military activation. “Life is like a bumper car. You go in one direction, get hit, and go in another direction. That’s what happened to me with my baseball career,” Curley explained.
Sent to Vietnam and never attending Baltimore’s Spring Training, Curley served in the Army’s Infantry. He reflected, “I wouldn’t wish a combat situation on anyone, but for me, it gave me leadership experience.” While serving, Curley was awarded a Bronze Star and made a commitment to himself. “I swore I wouldn’t get married. But I met a girl, got married and after 50 years of marriage, she’s the best person I’ve ever known in my life.” With his bride Annette, a school teacher, the couple purchased a home in Wakefield and raised two sons, Kirk and Tim, who both grew up playing local baseball. “I loved watching my sons play baseball. It was a joy for me.” Tim was in attendance for his dad’s presentation and verified, “I felt my dad going through the motions of every swing of the bat.”
After settling in Wakefield, Curley explained that, “Vietnam cured me of medical school,” and he decided to pursue law school after his discharge from the Army. Shortly after his admission to the Massachusetts Bar, Curley joined the Wakefield Rotary Club. “I travelled for work a lot, but I made it a point to visit other clubs and keep the connection to Rotary,” thus leading to his 45-year perfect attendance.
Reflecting on his observations of Rotary, Curley commented, “I’ve made great friendships in Rotary. Wakefield has a good and consistent a club. Without a doubt the biggest change was when women were allowed into Rotary in the 1980’s, and that was the best thing that ever happened to Rotary. If Rotary had a Hall of Fame, our female members would be in it.” Curley is a major supporter of Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio, provide education access for women, and developing local projects. He is a two-time Club President and multiple Paul Harris Fellow, a recognition of his personal support of the Rotary Foundation.
Now following his passion for antiques and auctions, he leaves the majority of the legal work to his two sons, both attorneys. Still residing in Wakefield, the couple enjoys time with their three grandchildren and often attend Rotary events together.