About one month after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle at the intersection of Ashby Avenue and Fulton Street, Julian Curran died April 5 of a heart attack at age 75.
Curran was a Berkeley native with five children, five grandchildren, many friends and a strong passion for his construction work. Curran died in his home on California Street, a house that he bought with his third wife Christine Crane and that he had been “fixing up” since 2002, according to Crane.
On March 2, Curran was the victim of a hit and run while riding his bicycle, as first reported by Berkeleyside. According to Crane, police have a suspect and are looking for her now.
According to Crane, Curran’s mother raised him “pretty much by herself.” Curran spent much of his childhood at Strawberry Creek on the UC Berkeley campus and loved to spend time with friends and ride his bicycle. In his later life, Curran took long bicycle rides almost every week. He would bike to Walnut Creek and use BART to get back to Berkeley. Crane said that he “loved that feeling of freedom.”
Curran was also a “lifelong builder” with a love for building and constructing that stemmed back to his childhood, according to Crane.
Curran’s younger years were full of traveling and “experimenting,” according to Curran’s construction website, Curran Construction. In his early twenties, Curran was in the Air Force and later joined the Danish Merchant Navy, according to Crane. Curran traveled extensively, hitchhiking across most of Europe and the Middle East, once even driving “across Iran in a stolen Mercedes,” according to Crane.
Of Curran’s five children, three were raised in Timber Cove in Sonoma County, according to Crane. Curran met Crane in Point Arena, moved back to Berkeley in 2002 and married Crane in 2003. The two bought a “fixer upper” on California Street that Crane said he looked forward to working on.
Once he was back in Berkeley, Curran began construction on various projects such as helping restore the local landmark, Allanoke Manor, located on the corner of Ridge Road and Le Roy Avenue. Curran was also vocal after the Berkeley balcony collapse, and supported the E3 ordinance that requires the inspection of weather exposed elevated elements.
Curran “had a lot of input” regarding the E3 ordinance, and was “horrified” by what happened because he felt that the event resulted from “cheap” construction practices. Crane said that Curran’s practice was “very ethical” — for instance, Curran perfected waterproofing techniques that remain “virtually fool proof even in harsh climate condition,” according to Crane.
“He would refuse to do things that weren’t up to his standards,” Crane said. “He had very high standards. Very ethical … he built some pretty fantastic residences.”