L. Rodger Currie helped to save Daniel R. Adams and five others from burning, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, July 12, 2005. Adams, 43, four family members, and a friend were crossing Nantucket Sound in Adams’s 48-foot motor yacht when fire broke out below deck and grew. Dropping anchor, Adams called the Coast Guard and gathered his passengers to the bow of the vessel. Currie, 81, retired dentist, and his friend were approaching the scene in Currie’s 24-foot sport boat, which the friend was then operating. They spotted smoke, then saw that the yacht was issuing 10-foot flames from stern to midship. Responding to the yacht, Currie’s friend positioned the sport boat alongside it, but wind and four-foot seas made it difficult for him to maintain the position. Likewise, the rocking boats caused variance in the distance between the levels of their decks. While his friend remained at the wheel, Currie stood on the bow of the sport boat to help in the transfer of the victims. The first to board was Adams’s young daughter, who was tossed to Currie by her mother. The mother followed, by jumping to the smaller craft, and three of the remaining victims followed her in similar fashion. Before Adams could leave the yacht, flames had spread to the extent that Currie’s friend feared an explosion. He distanced the sport boat from the yacht, Currie yelling to Adams to jump overboard. Adams did so, then grasped the end of a line that Currie had thrown toward him, and he was pulled aboard the smaller craft. Within a short time, the yacht was engulfed by flames, and it sank later that day. Rescue boats arrived, and Adams and his party were escorted to shore, where they were tended by medical technicians. Adams’s daughter had a minor burn on an ankle, but none of the others was injured.
78857 – 902778857-9027
Former World War II Marine Corps aviator and Carnegie Medal recipient L. Rodger Currie, died on Aug. 24, 2011, at his home in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 88.
Leo Rodger Currie was born on Aug. 5, 1923, in Lowell, Mass., to Mary Coyne Currie, a Lowell mill girl, and Patrick John Currie, a former ironworker from Motherwell, Scotland, who was the custodian of the school and orphanage of St. Margaret’s Parish in Lowell.
Currie served in Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 243, also known as the Flying Goldbricks. He flew 105 combat missions bombing and strafing Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands, Bismarck Archipelago, and the Philippine Islands. Currie was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism and extraordinary achievement, as well as 13 Air Medals.
After the war, Currie attended St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. He graduated from the University of Maryland Dental School in Baltimore in 1952. The following year, he moved to Chelmsford, Mass., where he founded Chelmsford Dental Associates while also serving on the staffs of three hospitals in Lowell.
In 1957, he was named Man of the Year by the Lowell Chamber of Commerce. That same year, he purchased a summer home in Hyannis Port, Mass. In support of his friends and neighbors, Currie traveled as an advance man for the presidential campaigns of three Kennedy brothers: John F. Kennedy in West Virginia in 1960; Robert F. Kennedy in Indiana in 1968; and Edward M. Kennedy in Iowa in 1980.
An avid sailor and pilot, Currie was part of the crew of the 56-foot Yankee Girl, representing the U.S. in the 1971 Admiral’s Cup at the Isle of Wight in England. He enjoyed flying his vintage World War II PT-26 before donating it to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
A past president of the Lowell Dental Society, Currie was chairman of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Massachusetts Dental Society for nine years. He was a member of the building committee of St. Mary Church in Chelmsford, a founding director of the First Bank and Trust of Chelmsford, and one of the founders of the Chelmsford Roundtable.
Currie was a former member of the Hyannisport Club, the Hyannis Port Yacht Club and of the Hyannis Port Civic Association, a former member of the Algonquin Club in Boston, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Chelmsford. In Palm Beach, he was a member of The Beach Club; The Society of the Four Arts; and the Palm Beach Yacht Club. He was a communicant of St. Mary Church in Chelmsford, St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis, and St. Edward Church in Palm Beach.
Currie was buried in Pine Ridge Cemetery in Chelmsford.
(Edited from an obituary in The Boston Globe, Aug. 28, 2011.)