BUFFALO, NY-The Western New York legal community is mourning the loss of a giant among them with news Friday that Federal Judge John T. Curtin has passed away at the age of 95.
Curtin was appointed to the Western District by President Lyndon B. Johnson in December of 1967 and was named chief judge in 1974. He served as chief judge until 1989. Shortly after that he assumed senior status and has served in that capacity until retiring from the bench last spring.
During his long tenure Judge Curtin served as the district’s representative to the Judicial Conference of the United States and received numerous honors, including the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University at Buffalo Law School, the Outstanding Jurist Award, the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award, the Erie County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award, the New York State Bar Association’s Robert L. Haig Award and UB Law School’s Dean’s Award.
He earned his B.A. from Canisius College in 1946 and his LL.B. degree form UB Law School in 1949. He served as a pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and in the Marine Corps Reserve during the Korean War, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Judge Curtin will forever be remembered for his ruling in the case of Arthur v. Nyquist, which led to the desegregation of the Buffalo Schools back in 1976.