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They're King and Queen: Cornucopia Days title goes to longtime Kent residents Pete and Pat Curran
(Editor's note: We are updating this story to reflect a correction made regarding the names and information we printed related to the couple's children.)
For a couple bearing the titles King and Queen, Pete and Pat Curran are awfully modest and reserved when it comes to their roles as royalty at this year’s Cornucopia Days.
“Who could ever imagine it?” Pete asks, prompting laughs from both of them.
But the couple, who have lived in Kent since 1963, have been part of the community for nearly 50 years. It’s a distinction that’s earned them a spot in the Cornucopia parade as the Old Timer King and Queen, as selected by the Kent Historical Society.
“It’s a compliment,” adds Pat. “It was very nice of them to ask us.”
Though both originally from Spokane, the Currans first met at a University of Washington Halloween dance in 1953, where Pete, 76, remembers Pat, 75, getting a lot of attention from the other boys.
“She was sitting on the radiator, sitting like she ought to have a friend,” he says, breaking into a grin and glancing over at his wife. “I ended up with the nicest lady those other guys couldn’t seem to land.”
The pair married in August of 1955 and Pete went on to law school at UW. After graduation in 1960, Pete took a job at the Curran Law Firm (started in 1948 by his brother, James Curran, and James Kelleher) in downtown Kent.
In 1963, Pete and Pat moved to the city, buying a home on Scenic Hill, up the road a bit from where their current home sits.
“It was quite different then,” Pat remembers about the valley in those days. “It was very rural. Lots of farms.”
After the Howard Hanson Dam was built in 1961 for flood-control purposes, the Green River no longer escaped its banks every year and development began in the Kent valley.
“Once the dam was built they started industrializing,” Pat says.
In 1969, the Currans moved to their current, Scenic Hill home, a beautiful, classic building constructed in 1910 and still containing the original wood (Douglas Fir) and some original glass, that Pete says they “lucked into.”
From the second floor, on clear day, you can see the Seattle skyline, according to Pete, and in the winter, when there are fewer leaves on the trees, the couple have a great view of the valley below.
“I always go take a look to make sure they’re still there,” Pete jokes.
During Cornucopia Days, the pair can hear the parade and the revelry from their porch as well.
Together the Currans raised eight children: Keelin, Colin (who died in 1983), Sheila, Marcy, twins Betsey and Brendan, Mary and Megan. They now have 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
“It is fantastic,” Pat says. “We’re very blessed.”
Pete continued to work at the firm and to this day does not consider himself retired because he still occasionally does arbitrator work for King County Superior Court.
The pair also volunteer with their church, Holy Spirit, and the Society of St. Vincent DePaul. Pat also volunteers with the Orthopedic Guild at Children’s Hospital.
The couple also remain very active, with Pat walking multiple times a week and playing tennis year ‘round at the Boeing Employees Tennis Club and Pete continuing to play handball regularly with Straight Arrow Handball Club (who are currently in between venues).
Pete also keeps busy doing some gardening. Though he admits to not mowing the lawn himself, Pete does keep up the garden and is awaiting this summer’s crop of hydrangeas.
“I don’t want to overdo it, but I take care of things and make them look good,” he says.
The pair have an obvious love of Kent, however and look forward to waving to the crowds from atop a convertible during the parade.
“I think, really, it’s the best small city in the South End,” Pete says, citing the city’s “superb” recreation program and sponsorship of the performing arts.
“I would hate the idea of moving away from here,” Pat agrees. “We just love it here. It’s just a great place.”
Cornucopia Days runs July 8-12 in Kent, and is the city's biggest festival of the year, with a massive street fair, carnival, parade, dragon-boat races and live entertainment. To see the complete schedule of events, go to our Entertainment Page on this Web site.
Quick look at events
(For full schedule, go to Kent Reporter Cornucopia Days Schedule
Thursday, July 9
Carnival (West Smith Street and Lincoln Avenue) opens at 3 p.m.
Friday, July 10
Downtown street fair, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Carnival opens 2 p.m.
Saturday, July 11
Downtown street fair, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Dragon boat races (Lake Meridian), 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
5K Fun Run, 9 a.m.
Carnival opens 11 a.m.
Sunday, July 12
Downtown street fair, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Grand Parade, 2 p.m.
Carnival opens at noon