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SOUTH BEACH: DANA POINT

City's First Mayor Bids Residents Adieu

April 01, 1998|FRANK MESSINA

As Judy Curreri stuffs the last memento in a box for her move out of state, she prepares to leave behind roughly 20 years of service as a leading figure in Dana Point.

But it takes her just a moment to pinpoint the highlight of her years in South County.

"Even if I had looked into a crystal ball, there's no way I would have seen Dana Point becoming a city when I moved here," Curreri said. "Seeing Dana Point become a city and being the first mayor, that was my biggest honor and biggest thrill."

Her children grown, the two-term councilwoman and her husband are fulfilling a long cherished dream by moving to the resort town of McCall, Idaho.

Friends and supporters gathered recently to say goodbye to Curreri, who left the city Tuesday.

"I think her going will leave a big void for us all," said Lee Steelman, director of the South Orange County Community Services Committee. "Whenever we wanted a good objective perspective on issues, she always came through with a good thought."

Curreri's involvement in local politics began when she joined the League of Women Voters.

"I wasn't smart enough to realize that I was being trained to take over as chairperson," Curreri said. "Next thing I know, three huge metal file cabinets full of records were being delivered to my house."

As a supervising public health nurse for Orange County, she was instrumental in establishing the South County Clinic, which serves the poor from an office in San Juan Capistrano.

For the better part of two decades, she has been on the board of the services committee, which helps nonprofit groups in South County pool their resources.

"I really try to give of myself when I'm somewhere," Curreri said. "But I feel like I accomplished so much more than I expected here, that I'm going with a real sense of satisfaction."

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