Obituary: Curley McEneny, 93
Curley passed on peacefully Nov. 26, 2009, while sitting outside in the sun with his neighbor, in Lone Pine, Calif. He was 93 years old.
Curley camped in Lone Pine, spring and fall, for three decades, as he traveled snow-bird fashion along the Sierra Front. He knew every dirt road for camping and every trailhead to the Pacific Crest Trail.
In 40 years of retirement, he hiked more than 70,000 miles on the PCT, Appalachian Trail, and in Arizona. Curley was born Feb. 22, 1916, in Buffalo, N.Y., to Phillip and Cornelia McEneny; he had an older brother, Red.
Curley worked on the family farm as a boy, and continued farm work after graduating from Niagara Falls High School. He learned his love of cribbage from his grandmother Rhoda Rockefeller, and he loved to read. He and Red dared to collect and#8220;good luckand#8221; coins dropped over Niagara Falls’ cliffs, and they swam and paddled in the river upstream.
After high school Curley worked on the N.Y. Central railroad with his father, and put his brother through college. The Depression kept him from attending college himself.
In World War II, he served as a staff sergeant in the Army transportation sector in England. After the war he moved to Florida for the railroad and construction. He worked on the Biltmore Hotel in Palm Beach.
He married Kitty Latimer and they started their family; he built their first home in Miami while working on the Florida East Coast Railroad. Work on Southern Pacific brought the family to Roseville, Calif., in the early 1950s, and they camped often at Tahoe and Yosemite. He retired from the railroad as a brakeman/conductor after sending Chip and Meri to college, and then began his life of hiking, camping, sailing and golf.
For 35 years he was a summer resident in North Lake Tahoe. He volunteered at We the People Food Co-op, played and coached softball and was always first on the course at Brockway.
He worked every year on family and friends houses, and picked up litter and recycling everywhere he went. In 2008, at 92, he broke his hip while camping alone in Arizona. He waited 20 hours for someone to pass by and then insisted they put him in his car where he drove the 17 miles to a clinic. He recovered from that fall with great care from the Veterans Administration, Home Health, good friends, and his determination.
He was happy and independent in Lone Pine. Curley is survived by daughter, Meri, and friends throughout the West who admired his independence, simplicity, hard work, big laugh, intellect and love of the outdoors.
A memorial hike will take place up White Mountain Peak (14,426 feet) next summer. To honor his memory help a friend in need, play a game of crib, or simply, take a hike.