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(Posted 7:30 a.m., Sept. 7)
Hundreds fill church to celebrate young man's rich life

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

More than 600 people filled Divine Infant Catholic Church on Friday to pay their last respects to Emerson Curran, the young man who was killed the night before he was supposed to return home from Yellowknife.

Curran was eulogized at the beginning of the service by his father Michael who described his son as loving, thoughtful, caring and intelligent.

"To some he was quiet, reserved and loving. To others he was mischievous, fun-loving and larger than life with a life so big it would startled people," said the elder Curran.

"My personal memory of Emerson is the face of a two-year-old who arrived in the neighbourhood park and delightfully shouted 'Who wants to play?' The older kids initially looked uninterested, but within a few minutes his infectious enthusiasm won them over and soon everyone was following his lead."

Curran said that he took solace in a passage from the Book of Wisdom that states, the length of days is not what makes age honorable, nor the number of years the true measure of life. He then talked about the many things Emerson managed to accomplish during his own life.

"He climbed the highest mountain in the Adirobdacks. He took a canoe trip down the Gananoque River. He experienced the camaraderie of playing on a championship football team. He visited Beijing in China. He attended university and studied the world's greatest philosophers. He fell in love and by all accounts he spent the summer of his life exploring the north."

While in Yellowknife, Emerson would regularly call his mother, grandparents or siblings on his own accord and engage in long conversations.

Michael Curran also recalled lighter moments like the time Emerson got his younger brother to do the dishes for him in exchange for getting to use his skateboard.

"But most importantly I think Emerson distinguished himself with the way he treated others -- with respect, with understanding, with compassion, with caring and with love. Emerson's passing reminds us that we must cherish each and every day, to fully appreciate our blessings, to love our family and friends with all of our hearts and ensure acts of goodwill always overcome moments of despair."

After the service, mourners gathered in the church hall where fond memories were exchanged next to Emerson's St. Peter Knights football jersey, a signed helmet, his high school graduation picture, and a wall of photos.

The 20-year-old's enduring legacy will be that of a life-saver. Besides the fact that most of his major organs were donated to others in need of life-saving transplants, he inspired more than 100 friends to sign organ donation cards.

Emerson is survived by father Michael Curran, mother Catrina, siblings Graeme, Liam, and Lauren, his paternal grandparents Charles and Diane Curran, his maternal grandparents Philippe and Sylvia Gosselin and his girlfriend Jillian Gummo.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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