In Memoriam: Council 4 Service Rep Steve Curran, 1963-2022

The Council 4 union family is grieving the untimely death of Steve Curran, a beloved service representative who fought tenaciously for our members and dedicated an extraordinary amount of his time and energy to supporting military veterans and rehabilitating rescue dogs.

Steve died April 29 at Yale New Haven Hospital due to complications from a stroke that he suffered on April 10. He was 58.

“We are heartbroken over Steve’s passing,” Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr said.  “He gave his all to everyone around him, and never asked for anything in return. He epitomized what it means to be ‘union’ in his words and actions. He lived a life in service to others." 

Steve spent 25 years as a state correction officer, first at Harford Correctional Institution and then at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown.  He was Chief Steward at Garner and served on the Executive Board of AFSCME Local 1565. He fought tirelessly for the men and women on the front lines and was active in shaping and moving legislation favorable to corrections employees in Connecticut.

“Steve Curran is one of those individuals who have a profound effect on people's lives,” said Correction Officer Ken Hayward, who worked alongside Curran at Garner. “He mentored me as new correction officer and a union steward. He showed me the importance of compassion, patience, tolerance, and humor. I used what he taught me in my own career. I will miss Steve but not forget him.”

A champion for staff wellness, Steve was instrumental in starting the Mental Health Management Program and was an instructor in Connecticut’s Pre-Service Mental Health class for correctional staff.  He served on the Department of Correction’s Critical Incident Stress Response Team and the Hostage Negotiating Team.

Steve was an original member of the National Medal of Honor Foundation and the Connecticut representative for the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation in Connecticut. In 1997, he was awarded the Department of Corrections Preservation of Life Award for saving an inmate who had attempted suicide.

A lover of animals, Steve especially enjoyed working with dogs and was the Coordinator of the DOC’s Dog Program overseeing multiple initiatives, including the Red Dog Project and We Adopt Greyhounds. These programs paired inmates with high-risk rescue dogs to help prepare them for adoption by providing training and socialization skills.

Joanne Salvatore, a retired correctional captain and member of the CSEA/SEIU Correctional Supervisors Union, worked with Steve to launch the greyhound project at Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire in 2015. “We connected immediately because of the dogs,” she recalled. “Steve had a great heart and a great sense of humor. He was a big reason I stayed with the [WAG] program. If it wasn’t for him, it never would have happened.”

Advocating for abused, injured, and neglected dogs remained a passion of Steve’s throughout his life. Eight years ago, he adopted two pit bulls whom he cherished, Thelma and Louise.

After retiring from the DOC in 2016, Steve joined Council 4 as a field representative and was soon promoted to service representative. He brought the same compassion and drive – not to mention generosity and humor – to the local unions he serviced.

“The first day I met Steve, I knew I liked him,” said Bob Smith, president of AFSCME Local 2018 representing Milford School Custodians and Maintainers. “He was a huge help to our union in disciplinary hearings and other situations. We had an outstanding relationship. Personally, I’m going to miss Steve a lot. We were friends." 

Fonta-Clark Cole, immediate past president, AFSCME Local 1579 representing Torrington Board of Education employees, echoed Smith’s sentiments: “I had the honor of working with Steve when he was assigned to our local. Our union and AFSCME Council 4 are better because of his dedication to all of us. His loss is immeasurable.”

Steve’s gregarious and outgoing ways helped him build strong bonds with local union leadership.

“Only Steve would answer my 10 or more calls a day and night,” said Ron Lupica, president of AFSCME Local 1303-468 representing Bridgeport Public Facilities employees. “I’ll miss his saying ‘What’s up Dawg!’ when answering my calls. Our relationship went far beyond business. Steve is what union brotherhood and sisterhood is all about.”

Steve served in the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard from 1984-1992. He chaired the Council 4 Veterans Committee and Council 4 America Fund, which donates resources to many causes, including support for military veterans. Organizing Council 4’s annual Veteran’s Appreciation Outing at the state Veterans Home in Rocky Hill was a special passion of his.

Barr said this year’s outing, set for May 28, will be dedicated to Steve’s memory.

Robert Beamon, a correction officer and recording secretary for AFSCME Local 391, served 22 years in the U.S. Marines and Army. He urged people to emulate the example Steve set.

“In the Army, one of our core values is selfless service, meaning service performed without any expectation of result or reward to the person performing it,” Beamon said. “Steve dedicated his entire adult life to the betterment of all he came into contact with. He was an exemplary leader who championed the fight for labor rights, and was an honorable veteran of our nation's military.”

Council extends our deepest sympathies to Steve’s family, friends and co-workers, including his brothers John, Timothy, James and Daniel, and the nieces and nephews whom he adored as if they were his own children, Michelle, Melanie, Kristy, Timothy, Chelsea, Alyssa, Daniel, Matthew and Ashley, along with 20 grand nieces and nephews.

Funeral services in celebration Steve’s life are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, at the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home in Waterbury, 496 Chase Ave. Family and friends may gather at the funeral home Friday from 2:30 p.m. until the service begins at 4:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions in Steve’s name may be made to or to

  • Click here for our Facebook post on Steve that includes photos from his career,