Boone’s Jim Curell passes away

Schroeder-Stark-Welin Funeral Home in Boone will be live streaming Jim Curell’s service on Friday, April 24, at 10 a.m. This can be viewed from their Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/SchroederStarkWelin/

 

Jim Curell, 67, of Boone, passed away Sunday afternoon, April 19, 2020. Curell, affectionately known as ‘The Legend’, was a household name on the Iowa golf scene for over 50 years.

Curell was described recently by Iowa Golf Hall of Fame member Rick Brown as being a gentleman golfer in the truest sense of the word.  He had a homemade swing that produced outstanding results.  He was  a three-time winner of the Lake Creek Amateur (1979, 1981, 1999), twice a champion at the Northwest Amateur ((1982, 1988) and low amateur at the Iowa Open (1992). Curell also was victorious at the 1980 Tournament of Champions and 1987 Iowa Mid-Amateur. Curell earned IGA Player of the Year honors in 1979.

Once Curell entered the Senior Division, he was still a force to be reckoned with – winning the 2005 IGA Four-Ball Senior Division with partner Bruce Gervais, 2011 Senior Match Play and was the 2014 Iowa Masters Senior Division champion. Curell was the IGA Senior Player of the Year in 2010 & 2011 and twice qualified for the U.S. Senior Amateur (2010, 2011).

In addition to his wonderful playing record, Curell gave back to the game that had given him so much.  Upon his retirement from Redeker’s Furniture in Boone, he began helping maintain the grounds at his home course, Honey Creek.  He also served in a volunteer capacity on the committee that administers the Iowa Masters at Veenker each year.

Curell will be remembered by all golfers as having a true passion for the game of golf and as one of the most respected players to play on the IGA circuit. Our sympathies go out to Curell’s wife, Kim; sons, Andy and Ryan and grandchildren, Alex, Josie, & Will.

A small, private service will be held for family on Friday, April 24, at Schroeder-Stark-Welin in Boone. A memorial celebration of Jim’s life will be announced for a later date this summer. Memorials may be made to the family and will be used to memorialize Jim with a stone bench to be placed at Honey Creek. You can view Curell’s obituary by clicking here.

We encourage you to share your favorite memories of “The Legend” in the comments section below.  We will share these memories with Kim and all of Jim’s family. 

33 comments

  1. Dave Sergeant says:

    The loss of Jim is so devastating. He truly was a gentle giant in so many ways. It was a privilege to be his friend, partner, and competitor for many years. I consider myself as do so many others to have been lucky to have him in our lives. I have many fond memories that I will cherish forever. My heart goes out to his family and all his friends and others whose lives he touched.

  2. Paul Leahy says:

    Jim and my father had many great battles on the course and I will always remember him as a true gentlemen and friend RIP Jim I hope your playing golf with Dad in heaven today. Prayers to the family during this sad time.

  3. Chad Pitts says:

    I remember “Curly” for a lot of reasons, but what comes to mind first was how often he would stop by the office over the past few years. Sometimes it was to get some shirts for the Senior Challenge team, sometimes it was to just stop and say hello because he was on his way back from physical therapy on his back. The last time he did he just wanted to give an update on all the issues he had been dealing with, health-wise. You could tell he hated not being able to play as much as he wanted…but he was still getting out to play as much as his body would allow him! The dude was a grinder, but at the same time, had nothing but respect for the game and all his fellow competitors. He will be sorely missed.

  4. Kory Brown says:

    Jim mowed greens for us at Honey Creek Monday-Friday, but on the weekends he liked to play early in the morning. One Saturday morning he was out playing the back nine and caught me on the greens mower. I hadn’t mowed all the way to the cup yet but being part of the maintenance staff, he didn’t want to be in the way. He would either wait or move to a different hole, but I gave him the 1 minute signal with my finger, finished mowing across the cup, and waved him on to hit. Jim took his shot, it landed in the center of the green, check up a little and trickled right into the cup! The first hole in one I had ever witnessed. I jumped off the mower and was congratulating him as he pulled his cart up and walked to the green, cool as a cucumber, like he does it everyday, although he did have his famous Curly grin on his face! He did admit that it probably wouldn’t have gone in if I didn’t mow all the way to the pin. #17 Blue tee, back left pin, at Honey Creek Golf Club in Boone. I remember it like it was yesterday.

  5. Mark Christensen says:

    I have many fond memories of tournament golf with Jim . He was the ultimate grinder and I learned a lot about resilience from watching him play. Although it has been some time since we played, my heart was saddened when I learned of his passing. My condolences to his family.

  6. Andy Ask says:

    So sorry for the family’s loss Jim is the reason I play golf at all. when I was 18 yrs old I worked in the kitchen of BG&CC. I did not like or care about golf and watching some of the players at the club it did not seem fun lol. But BG&CC had a little driving range out back and Jim was one of the only guys who used it. And I still remember today telling my boss “If I could swing like that I play golf too”
    Thanks Jim you did more for a punk kid washing dishes then you will ever know
    Andy Ask

  7. John Peters says:

    So sad to lose such a wonderful man & great friend. Jim was a person of quiet strength & we enjoyed many good days together on the golf course & traveling to Senior events. Never one to talk about himself or his golf achievements he will truly always be remembered as “The Legend”. So many good memories. I will miss him. Sympathy, thoughts and prayers to Kim and Family.

  8. Jeanie Peterson says:

    I first met Curly (Jim) in the early 1990’s at the Ft. Dodge Am. My husband Ron would be paired up with Jim and Tom Schill many times. Jim’s kindness and sense of humor always made my day. He was so easy to be around and I always enjoyed seeing him. Such a great family man and talented golfer. One of a kind, always The Legend. 🙂💙

  9. Todd Sapp says:

    The Legend was a proud part of our Mustang family. Whenever Morningside College competed in the Des Moines area, we had Curly as an Assistant Coach. So many players over the years were truly lucky to soak in some of his insight on the game of golf and about life. He has had a lasting impact on every young person he ever coached, and will definitely never be forgotten by any of them. To steal a line from BV, I miss him already… My prayers to the Curell family.

  10. Tom Louden says:

    The first time I met Jim was the last round of the Lake Creek Am up in Storm Lake in 1979. We were paired the last round, playing neck & neck the whole way. I had a 5 foot putt on the last green to win outright & when I missed, Jim said ‘T, I wish you hadn’t missed that’. (to this day I think he was actually sincere!) Anyway, he made sure the playoff was short & relatively painless, giving him his first win on the Iowa am tour. The first of many. From then on I always looked forward to getting paired with Jim, which didn’t happen that often as he was always in one of the last groups! A nicer guy you couldn’t know who also possessed a wicked sense of humor! Total class & a true gentleman. Great memories of those days and man, could he play!

  11. Rob Christensen says:

    Jim was the Legend. Great person and awesome player. Always a factor in all tournaments. Always enjoyed playing with him in the Senior events. We always had to tell each other about our bad backs and other ailments. We will all miss his presence. Thanks for the memories Jim.

  12. Jamie Blackburn says:

    Jim was certainly one of the golfers on the IGA tour that I admired most. He always had a kind word and you felt better every time you would see him. I am sure his calm demeanor hid the fire that drove him to compete.

    My most vivid recent memories are of Jim as a volunteer starter at the Iowa Masters. As always, he was the complete gentleman, treating all of the competitors with the same respect and welcoming manner. You just know he wanted to tee it up, but he didn’t complain.

    Jim’s death is a hard one to take. My heart goes out to his family and brother Ken. I remember last year we chatted about the day on the tee at Veekner when I asked him what he was doing later that day. He just smiled a little and said, “going home, getting in the hot tub, having a beverage and perhaps watch a game or some golf”. Perfect.

  13. Brandon Robinson Thompson says:

    Curly was the assistant for Morningside Collage mens golf team in a few events I played on the Team. I can’t say I knew him extremely well but boy was he a friendly guy. He was so helpful as an assistant and I am so glad that Coach Sapp knew him and brought him in. It was a pleasure to have met him and gotten to know him.

    Brandon RT

  14. Sam Aossey says:

    I am so sorry too hear about Jim’s passing. He was great guy and a good friend. As we played golf together in our older years, I was always trying to outdrive him. He’d crush a drive out there about 210 yards, give me a smile , and say “go after that one.” I’d swing my butt off and dribble one down there about 205 yards, and he’d say “nice try”! We had a great time playing golf together! I will miss him!

  15. Bret Taylor says:

    “The Legend”…that really tells you all you need to know about Jim. He was a legend on the course, but legendary as a man. He always had a good word and a smile on his face whenever we ran into each other. Don’t know that I ever heard him say a negative word about anything. I was always excited when I got paired with Jim, because it was going to be a great day of golf and laughs, and it did not matter how we played. My heart goes out to Kim and the family. RIP my friend, you will never be forgotten.

  16. Joe Gitchell says:

    I am very sad to read of Jim’s passing. Too young and too soon.

    My dad always enjoyed playing with Jim (and I was a happy caddy!)–he was so calm and so good. I remember him being very creative in shaping shots of all lengths–remarkable.

    Akin to Paul Leahy’s comment, I can see my dad reunited with Jim again–and that is a happy image.

    I do hope that memories can provide some comfort to his family and friends in this time.

    Joe

  17. Tom Tays says:

    When I was about 12 I’m in Dr. Updegraff’s big Electra 225. I caddied for him back then. It’s Doc’s son Gary, Jim and me driving through Adel on our way to a tourney. The main drag was cobblestones back then and Doc says, “I wonder what they do with all the money they save on road repairs.” Just as quick as a wink Curly says, “they buy shock absorbers.” We all just busted up laughing. This is only one of many, many remembrances of Jim but one that’s stuck in my mind all these years.
    All my best thoughts to the Curell family. I’ll miss Jim and will remember him always.

  18. John Webb says:

    Crushing news. JC was one of my idols: A lifelong amateur who had a real job. He was very good at his job and still managed his off-time to work on his golf game and make time for his family. I played in several tournaments with Jim and my wife and I bought furniture from him. His determination to become a championship caliber golfer was astounding; his breakthrough win at Lake Creek in 1979 was inspirational to me, but I was never able to achieve his levels of accomplishment. One year, at the Tournament of Champions in Atlantic, I was getting interviewed by the local sports reporter after posting a 68. The reporter was just making a few notes when we saw Jim’s score get posted: A 63. The reporter thanked me (with the wrong name) and left me to interview a real player. C’est la vie, scrapbook.
    All our sympathies to Kim and the rest of Jim’s family from Barb and me.

  19. Andy Curell says:

    Please keep these comments coming. My Dad, The Legend. Hes look at these so way some how. Its heartbreaking knowing he is gone, but ever story is heartfelt. Dad enjoyed playing with each and everyone of you. Teaching a few of you. Thank you all so much for sharing, please continue to add stories. You all have a special thought in my Dads life. He will never be forgotten and live on in the Iowa Golf Association as one of the best. I thank you all.
    The Curell Family

  20. Kurt Phillips says:

    As part of Redeker Furniture’s unofficial vendor tournament foursome, I’ll never forget teeing off at Beaver Creek circa 2000. Jim was late to arrive and was just pulling into the parking lot as us three other hacks had all missed the fairway on the 310 yd. hole #1. Jim strides up to the tee box, no warm-ups, and stripes a 305 yd. drive right down the middle, splitting the two traps that protected the front of the green. Chip, putt, birdie. The “legend” he was. And a great friend who will be missed by many.

  21. Ken Curell says:

    I echo my nephew Andy’s thoughts. Your comments give us strength in our time of sorrow. I idolized Jim, I was the little brother who always tagged along. I met many of you when I played in IGA events with Jim. My game was never good enough to be there, but I was happy to be a “field filler” so that I could be there to watch him play. He loved all of you and especially the competition. Thank you all again.

  22. Darin Kain says:

    I have played in the same group with Jim on day one of a tourney but never on the last day as he was near the lead and I, well, was not. I had the privilege of being in the same group as I caddied for my brothers Dana or Dean. Jim was always kind enough to include me in the group chatter then, in the clubhouse afterwards and thereafter every time I saw him. The question was always “How’s Dana’s little brother?” He’d have that Curly little grin that we all know so well. Whenever I played in a tourney Jim was at I’d seek him out just to say hi because I respected him as a golfer and more so as a person. May the birdies be many to you Jim. RIP.

  23. Ron Peterson says:

    My first recollection of Jim, The Legend, was at the Tournament of Champions in Atlantic. I believe it was from the second round in 1980, the year he won. I was a teenager, finding my way onto the Iowa golf scene. We had some volatile weather that day, overcast with rain off and on all day. While it was unseasonably cool for an August day, it was by no means cold. I think Jim had an ear infection or something, because I distinctly remember watching him finish on 18 green wearing a stocking hat, which struck me as unusual. What was really memorable was that he shot a 63 that day, one of those rare days when a golfer beats the field by 5 or 6 shots. I held Jim in high esteem from that day forward.

    As the years went on I was blessed to become close friends with Jim. It was always a treat to get to play golf with Jim, or even just be around him. I was fortunate to do both on many occasions. As many have stated, he was a true gentleman and great friend. I miss him dearly. My thoughts and prayers are with Kim, Ken, other family members and loved ones, and the legions of Iowa golfers that called Jim a friend. My wish for you is that with time your sorrow will be replaced by many fond memories.

    Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. JOHN 16:22

  24. mike casey says:

    Kim , Ryan and Andy I am at a loss for words. When you texted me Sunday with the news, I was so hoping for the improvement that you saw on Saturday. When you said that you lost the love of your life and your heart and soul , that is also what you guys were to him. The championships, trophies, awards and accolades from golf were not what Jim lived for. It was your guy’s love. Thanks for all you did the last few weeks. I will always remember our good times at Spencer and the boys knocking on my door to play in the pool. I have never forgotten how you guys were there for me years ago, so I know what you are going through. God loves you and you are in my prayers.

  25. Charlie Taylor says:

    A really terrific guy. He made you feel good, even in a brief encounter.

  26. Chris Donielson says:

    It’s been many years since I have been back to Iowa and miss it greatly. Curly was Iowa golf in so many, many ways. He cared deeply about others, not just their golf games. Always a smile and true friendly welcome. A wave and holler across the fairway. I will always remember the competitive fire, but also that he was NEVER too busy or too wrapped up in something to say hello and ask how things were going. Through his words and especially how he conducted himself, he helped so many young golfers along the way. We will all miss him a great deal.

  27. Steve Berg says:

    I was sad to hear of Jim’s passing. I was paired with him a couple times back in the 70’s and 80’s. Always a gentleman on and off the course. His calm demeanor on the course was legendary and would always rub off on me. RIP Jim. My prayers are with his family and friends.

  28. Mike Dunphy says:

    Jim Curell: First name I looked for as a kid in the 1970’s when checking golf scores in The Peach, and never started at the bottom…
    Iowa Golf has lost one of its best people, too soon gone. Thanks Jim. You made a difference to me.

    1. Kurt Matthewson says:

      Growing up in Boone County you knew who Jim Currell was. Not surprising. The entire golfing community in the state and beyond knew of Jim.

      Boone CC was a club of many good golfers. I was probably 14 or so and went to play there on a weekday. I do not remember the foursome, but I remember Doc Updegraff and Jim being in it. I was sitting on a bench on the backside of the clubhouse where one could get a great view of the tee shots off number 1.

      Jim hit a great drive. Especially through the eyes of a young kid who knew who Jim Currell was, but never saw him in person until that moment. Doc said, “Great drive Boomer.” Every time I heard someone say Boomer from that day on, Jim came to mind.

      A few years later that young kid was in the last group of the Boone Am championship flight playing with “Boomer” in one of the old nervous nines. A kid who had no place being in that group with him and was full on cognoscente of that fact. Jim treated me with great respect and was a true gentleman. He did not have to, but it sure made an impression I never forgot.

      Not many years ago, Jim sought me out on the range prior to an Iowa Masters round. He had to tell me all about playing a tournament on one of our home tracks at UAB in Birmingham – Pine Tree. If memory serves, he represented Iowa golf extremely well down there.

      To go from a young kid in awe to Jim treating me as a contemporary was quite an accomplishment and not lost on me. Thing is though, Jim treated everyone as a contemporary. Such an outstanding golfer, yet a most easy going and approachable man. Yet under the hood, I could see his competitive fire ran as deep as any ones.

      I knew Jim well. We were not close friends but I will never forget him and we will miss seeing him out there. We all have a story of how he touched our lives in some way none of us will forget.

      Condolences to his family. This loss of Jim is no doubt unbelievable to them. It was to me when I got the text. It is unbelievable to all of us who he crossed paths playing the game we all love. It’s quite a tapestry woven by a game.

      My wish is that his family will stay strong yet open to reflect and remember often your stories as well. They no doubt cause one to catch themselves in a smile. I do. We all do. We always will.

  29. Tom Fetter says:

    First met Jim at the 1969 CIC conference golf tournament at which Jim (Boone) and I (South Tama) were competing. Of course he and his team were strong contenders, and I think they beat us! He always seemed to be in contention for the next 45 years, and will certainly be missed. The greens at Honey Creek were always immaculate the few times I played there, and now I know why.

  30. Ken Curell says:

    Over 400 hits on the facebook livestream of Jim’s funeral. That tells me whenever we can have a memorial gathering when it is safe, we’ll have to rent a big hall. Thank you for everyone who has expressed sympathy and/or shared a story of Jim.

  31. Andy Curell says:

    Very well said. I haven’t looked at the posts for a bit. Dad had a heart of gold and the strive to win. He is definitely missed by many. Thank you for your kind words of my father.
    Live long the Legend,
    Andy Curell

  32. Brad Post says:

    So sad to hear of Jim’s passing. Whenever I came back to Iowa I always enjoyed catching up. We played alot of rounds together during high school golf and summers as kids, and I admired his approach to golf and friendship. Jim was a good player as a kid, and he continued on to be a great player. He had some great golf experiences and a rich life. Best of all Jim was always a great guy.
    I’m sad he’s gone too soon. He left his mark on golf and my young life.

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