Morris Curry, long active as a community volunteer, candidate for city government and former American Canyon pastor, has been dismissed as program coordinator at the city’s Senior Multi-use Center.
Curry, who took over at the Elliott Drive facility in June, has not discussed the firing publicly. New Parks and Recreation Director Creighton Wright declined to comment on the dismissal last week, citing the confidential nature of personnel issues. Wright began as director in November.
A Gateway Award winner, the city’s highest volunteer honor, and a former mayoral and city council candidate, Curry and his wife started a Southern Baptist church in American Canyon in 1985. He was a prison chaplain at San Quentin for four years, before retiring in 2010.
The 66-year old Curry said in June the position at the center piqued his interest because he thinks seniors have an important role to play in society. Young people can learn a lot from their elders, he said, including career information.
“They are walking history,” Curry said of senior citizens.
In a letter on today’s opinion page, Curry speculated on the reason for his firing.
“I cannot tell you what led to my abrupt dismissal,” Curry wrote, “although I suspect it was my mouth.”
Curry is well known to longtime AmCan residents for his outspokenness.
“You either love me or hate me,” Curry said in a recent telephone conversation regarding his plain-speaking style.
On Tuesday, one center visitor said although she sometimes disagreed with Curry, she didn’t want to see him leave.
“I didn’t have any problem with him. People should be able to express their opinions,” said two-year American Canyon resident Peggy Andersen. “He and I didn’t get along all the time because of our (differing) opinions.”
Some at the center are very sorry to see Curry go.
“He did a damn good job,” said Maryann Bryant, a longtime American Canyon resident. “He took great interest in all of us. He was very helpful and we all liked him.”
Wright said Parks & Recreation Supervisor Roddrick Sweeney would be interim program coordinator at the center while the department searched for Curry’s replacement.
The Senior Multi-use Center is located at 2185 Elliott Drive, American Canyon and is open to seniors Monday through Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.