Yesterday’s sudden death of Joe Curran, the 55-year-old chief operating officer of Baja Marine, Donzi Marine and Fountain Powerboats parent company Iconic Marine Group in Washington, N.C., sent co-workers and fellow members of the marine industry reeling.
Affable and charismatic, Joe Curran, who came to Iconic Marine Group in 2016 as a veteran of the pontoon boat and runabout markets, quickly became the public face of the Baja, Donzi and Fountain brands. Photo courtesy Iconic Marine Group
Extremely popular and well respected for leading the reemergence of those three brands, the 32-year marine industry veteran passed away after a short and hard-fought battle with stomach cancer. In his role as COO, Curran was part of Iconic’s original management team and provided leadership, vision and unmatched passion to one of boating’s best turnaround stories. The uniquely multi-talented Curran spearheaded Iconic’s Sales, New Product Development, Strategic Planning, Marketing and Dealer Network expansion.
“When Iconic was formed, Joe was my first hire,” said Iconic’s managing partner Fred Ross. “I couldn’t have made a better choice. Joe’s passion for boating was obvious; his talent and experience in so many areas unmatched. We’ll miss Joe as a leader and a driving force at Iconic, but more than anything we’ll miss him as a friend.”
Joe Curran (shown here at the helm of a new Donzi 41 GT sportboat with Fred Ross buring the 2018 BFD Fun Run) was one of the key drivers in the rebirth of Baja, Donzi and Fountain. Photo courtesy Clint Schaffnit/Big Thunder Marine.
With Curran at the helm, Iconic introduced five new models and revived 11 models in less than two years, making them a force once again in the high-performance, sportboat and center console markets.
In addition to his success at Iconic, Curran’s diverse career included key roles at US Marine, Harris Kayot, Wellcraft, Chris-Craft, Monterey Boats, Brunswick, Forrest River and Crest Pontoons.
Curran, who was born on April 27, 1963 in Chicago, Ill., was married to his wife, Julie, for 32 years. He is preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Jeanne Curran, his two brothers, Robert Jr. and Anthony. He is survived by his siblings, Kathleen (Earl T.) Champion, Madonna Curran, Mary Martha (Dennis) McConnell, Marie Estelle (Mark) Nolan, Susan (John) Loberg, Roy (Claudia) Curran, Jeanne (Rich) Halko, Elaine (Kent) Miller, Jennifer (Robert) Grandi. He is further survived by numerous nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews and fondly known as Uncle Joe to many more.
Whether he was driving a boat, talking shop with peers at last month’s Speed On The Water Industry Cocktail Party during the Miami International Boat Show (center), or just catching up with his many friends, Joe Curran was always as cool as can be.
While boating was his first love, it was almost impossible to have a conversation with him without dating back to the early 1980s and his storied college football days for the Michigan State Spartans. A gifted athlete and dominating figure, Curran was as an outstanding defensive tackle. Starting in college and extending through today, he enjoyed lifelong friendships with some of the biggest names in college and professional football.
The family requests that memorials be made to Michigan State University Parkinson’s Research Fund AR9002, University Advancement, Spartan Way, 535 Chestnut Rd., Room 300, East Lansing, MI 48824 or Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, 3411 Sherman Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46808.
Memorial services are going to be held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Elmhurst, Ill., on April 4, 2019.