Frank's Story

Dec. 7, 1941 is an iconic day not just because it was the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. It’s also an iconic day because Simmons Hanly Conroy client Frank Curre survived it, then passed away that same day 70 years later.

“It’s like he held on for today, which is his special day,” a family member told the family’s local newspaper on Dec. 7, 2011.

Although Frank passed away from mesothelioma, his heroic spirit lives on.

Sharing Memories of Serving His Country

Frank spent many years working as a member of the U.S. Navy. He served as a boatswain’s mate from 1941 through 1946, aboard the USS Tennessee (BB-43) and the USS Petrof Bay (CVE-80).

On the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, Frank was working as a mess cook. He later told many stories about his experience on that fateful day. His descriptions made listeners feel like they were right there in Pearl Harbor, watching it unfold.

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Frank heard two huge, consecutive blasts. He ran up to the deck to investigate and was dismayed when he saw the USS Arizona had been hit by a bomb.

“That ship come 12-15 foot in the air, broke in two and settled back down,” Frank said in November, 2011 in an NPR interview about the harrowing experience. “If you’d had a bag of popcorn and you’d went out here in the breeze and threw it up in the air – that was bodies that went out all over the harbor.”

Frank remembered a great deal of what took place that day, even as he aged and his memory began to fail him. The memories of Pearl Harbor would never leave him, even up until the end.

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Receiving a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Before and after serving in the U.S. Navy, Frank lived in Texas where he worked as a laborer, machine operator, pressman and machinist for a daily newspaper.

Unfortunately, Frank was regularly exposed to asbestos on each of these jobs.

For example, he regularly performed maintenance on early model printing presses that had asbestos lining. He also performed regular maintenance on the asbestos-containing brake blocks of later model printing presses.

When Frank started to experience chest pain and difficulty breathing, he went to see his doctor. X-rays showed Frank had a spot on his lung, and a little while later he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

After speaking with a mesothelioma specialist about treatment options, Frank decided to opt out of treatment and instead live the remainder of his life to the fullest.

Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Before Frank passed away, he worked with the lawyers at Simmons Hanly Conroy to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. Like many other U.S. Navy veterans, Frank had not only been exposed to asbestos during his time in the Navy, but also during his later career.

Our mesothelioma law firm considered it a privilege to represent Frank and his family.

“Everyone who met Frank was touched by his memories,” Partner Randy Cohn said. “He never considered himself a hero, but to me, Frank was a hero, not only for his service, but for the life he lived after the War. I’m honored I was able to help him and his family.”

Our mesothelioma lawyers are proud to work with individuals like Frank and their families to secure the justice they deserve. Mesothelioma is a devastating and unfair disease, but one piece of Frank will always live on — his incredible stories about Pearl Harbor.

You can still listen to his stories of Pearl Harbor, told in his own words, at NPR’s StoryCorps.

Simmons Support Team
Simmons Hanly ConroyWritten by:

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The Simmons Hanly Conroy Editorial Team consists of journalists, writers and editors who strive to deliver accurate and useful information to families needing legal help. Our team works alongside the firm's attorneys and partners, as well as with medical professionals and other specialists, to keep all information relevant and helpful.