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A Note From Jennifer Tombaugh

I called my parents this morning to tell them that Matt Curran—who was their smiling, smart, dynamic and fearless leader on EJ a few years ago—had passed away. My dad summed it up: “How absolutely horrible. What an amazing human being.” Unlike so many others here at Tauck, I was only lucky enough to meet Matt twice, but whether we talked on the phone or I received an email with his trademark “smiley face” closing, his energy, enthusiasm and passion made me feel as if I’d known him my whole life. Matt Curran. Just the name provokes smiles and something almost legendary in the Tauck history. Over 28 years, he led tours all over the world, and most recently Antarctica, Spain, Egypt, Israel and Jordan. Within 24 hours of hearing the news, our partner hotel General Managers started writing me sharing their shock but also their whole team’s warm affection for this special man. David Cohen at the Intercontinental Tel Aviv simply said: I recall morning meetings whilst discussing the arrival of a Tauck group my teams next comment was, “Hey, Matt is coming back!”. My guess is somewhere the angels are saying the same thing. Our prayers and thoughts are with you, Matt, and your whole family. As you would say: ☺.

Matthew Roland Curran

Matthew Roland Curran, age 52, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at his home in Toronto, Canada.

Matt was a lifelong resident of Tiverton, RI. He graduated from Tiverton High School in 1980 and then went on to Boston University where he graduated with a degree in Journalism.

For the past 30 years, Matt has worked as a Tour Director with Tauck Tours. While with Tauck, he guided thousands of travelers to various locations around the globe. Matt logged hundreds of thousands of miles by bus, plane, ship and camel through destinations including Canada, Spain, Portugal, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Antarctica, Palestine, Brazil, Turkey and Argentina.

Matt’s love of adventure also took him to France, Russia, Transylvania (Romania), Morocco, Norway, Greece, Italy, Venezuela and other places to numerous to note.

Matt lived by and promoted the motto “Life Is Good!” His “larger than life” smile and personality illuminated every space that he entered.

To all those he met, Matt was an Ambassador of Peace and Love. He treated all with kindness, generosity and respect. Matt embraced life with open arms, mind and soul.

His family believes that Matt is now traveling throughout the heavens setting up a new tour, anxiously awaiting all of our arrivals to escort us on our next adventure.

Besides his lifelong partner Kamran, Matt is survived by his mother Patricia Curran, sisters Kathryn Curran, Susan (Curran) Raposa, husband James and his treasured nephews Ryan, Sean and Morgan. Matthew was also the son of the late Henry E. Curran.

Friends of Matt are invited to join in a celebration of Matt’s life and great spirit at the family home on Saturday, August 16, 2014 after 11 AM.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Doctors Without Borders (online or by post: P.O.Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030, Amnesty International (online), or a charity of your own choice.

More Information

Sympathies and well wishes can be sent Matt’s partner Kamran (Jalal) at:

Jalal Dehzani
120 Homewood Avenue
Apartment #2910
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2J3
Canada

Or

Jalal Dehzani
C/O Patricia Curran (Matt’s mother as well as Kamran will be there this week and next)
132 Evans Avenue
Tiverton, RI 02878

"Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation."

Rumi

Stories

Matt: Our Family’s Adventurer

It has been just over a month since my brother Matt’s departure from this world. Our family is still struggling to adjust to a life without Matt’s presence. Even though he only visited home (R.I.) for a couple of weeks out of the year, Matt was always here. As many as you know, his technology (phone and computer) allowed him to stay personally connected to many all over the world. Almost on a daily basis, Matt would call, Skype, FaceTime or email. After the call, we were usually laughing, smiling or talking about something he had said or done.

Matt lived his life as if it were an adventure and through his work invited many others to ride along with him. Matt could replace the reasons you couldn’t do things with the actual plans that made things happen. He loved to create experiences! As kids, Matt managed to get my grandparents to take us to places like New York, Washington, Florida and Hawaii. He had lobbied for a Europe-10 country in two week-tour but settled for Hawaii. (My grandparents were in their 70’s!). At 15, he managed to get my parents to let him go to Brazil for a year. At that point he didn’t speak Portuguese! (Mom will tell you that they never thought he would get picked and that things were different then!)

Matt talked me, my family (his nephews were 5 & 7) and sister into going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Of course we had to go the day before so that we could do some NYC sightseeing and watch them blow up the huge character balloons in freezing weather. (Me and Kathy inherited more of the “practical genes” but Matt somehow knew how to change our minds!). When my sons were 8 and 10, he talked us (my family & my parents) into a trip to his home in Madrid. Even while he was on break, he gave us our own private tour of Southern Spain!). It was a trip that my family will never forget. My parents then went on to travel with Matt on his tours in Spain and Egypt. They were amazed at the way he “performed” his job and the places that were part of his routine. Dad was so proud of the number of people that knew and respected Matt. During his visit in July, Matt was still casting his travel “spells” when he told my mom that she should visit him in Jordan with my youngest son Morgan (12).

It is easy to to think about what we have lost but I am trying to focus on what we were given. Matt was a great son, brother, uncle and friend but more importantly he was an extraordinary human being. He was generous, kind, considerate and thoughtful. His life was much shorter than any of us would have imagined but his impact on those who knew him was enormous. Matt taught us to respect people regardless of where they were from, what they looked like or what they believed in. Matt taught us to say “I Love You!” He ended every conversation and every visit with these words. It was heartfelt and real. He taught us how to hug. When he arrived or was leaving, Matt would wrap you in his arms, kiss your cheek and share a personal message. (So nice seeing you, Thanks so much, You are doing a great job, Have fun in school, See you soon, I love you!”). Matt’s hugs left you feeling connected and loved.

So to honor Matt, I would ask that you be kind and respectful to others. Tell those that you love, that you love them! Hug your friends and family like you mean it or like you are going on tour for the next couple of months! Most importantly, celebrate life with adventures.
It is these adventures that will impact you as well as those around you.

Thanks Matt for the adventures!
Save us seats on the “Heaven’s Tour!”
Life is Good! :-)
We love you and miss you.
Sue, Jim,
Ryan, Sean & Morgan

Like A Brother

Matt,
You were like another brother to me. Still can not believe you are gone. I will always reb

An ambassador for life

Matt was part of a family of tour guides at Paragon Travel about 30 years ago. He kept us entertained with his sense of humor and his positive grasp on life. He will be missed by so many people. I had not seen Matt in a long time but I followed his exploits and his travels via his Facebook page. The world was a much better place with Matt in it.
Skip Darmody

A friend in need, is a friend, indeed.

The title I’ve used is something Matt repeatedly said to me years ago. He and I were neighborhood kids. There was one particular year when we were close friends. We hung out together at his house listening to Elton John records and played spotlight tag with the other neighborhood kids. He was such a sweet kid. Looking through Facebook two days ago, I came across his page. I sent him a friend request and waited. When nothing happened, I took a close look at his page and was stunned to learn of his passing! Though many years have passed, I’ve always thought of him as my friend. He lived a wonderful life, and I am so blessed that he was in mine. Walk with God, Matt. There is NO place you cannot go now.

Forever ,On The Atlantic Ocean in South West Beautiful Island of Ireland there is a special part of Matt

Thank You Matt and his Dear Mother ,as also his Family ,for choosing Ireland in which to lay his Father’s Remains, on his death .
Each time I travelled the Ring of Kerry or Iveragh Penninsula and looked out onto Ballinskelligs Penninsula and Bay I thought of Matt and I will continue you to do so with special warm memories and prayers and gratitude .
Thank You ,Matt ,for your thoughtfulness and kindness to me .
My sincere sympathy to his Mum , Partner and Family : “There is only a great loss when there has been a great treasure ”

Ambassador of peace

The few weeks before Matt’s untimely death he called me and many other friends here in the Middle East because he was concerned about our safety and welfare. Regardless of our political perspectives, cultural and religious differences we were Matt’s friends and he cared about us and our families. Matt was a true ambassador of peace and humanity. He adapted to every setting with his larger than life presence, humor, generosity and kindness.
I had the privilege of working with Matt in Jerusalem. He was fun to work with, had a smile for everyone and believed in making every moment count. Every day was ‘the best day of the tour’!
His optimism, smile and friendship will be missed so much. May his memory be blessed.
Nicole Goldstein Strassman

Matt the mentor

Wow, I was one of the “lucky” Tauck Directors that had the privilege of being a student, twice and a guest on tour with Matt.

My first student experience with Matt was in Spain, during my second year as a Director with Tauck. I have always said, and will continue to say, I would not be a TD without having met Matt. From Matt I learned how to “live” on the road. He inspired me. He was so easy to be with.

Matt also bet me I wouldn’t make it to the year 2000 with Tauck, because I already thought like someone who had been a TD for a lot of years. I was so proud to see him, at the TD 2001 seminar in Vancouver (one of his rare appearances), and share with him that I made it and he was the reason.

Everything you have all written about Matt, his Loving soul, will live in my heart forever.

How Do I Begin

To all of Matts dear friends all over the world, words cannot express our gratitude for the stories you have
Posted about my son Matt.. Our hearts are filled with saddness and also gratitude. We celebrated his life yesterday here in Tiverton RI. Yesterday Saturday 4/16, here in our yard. A picture tribute of all of his travels,was posted on the walls of our porch for all to see. Everyone who came to pay their respects viewed the pictures, and I tried to explained where he was when the photos were taken.
Matt loved his job, but mostly the people he worked with. The relationships he developed over these past 27-30 years

with Tauck, were priceless., and yesterday we his family were lucky to meet some of
them. Everyone said how much he was loved and was like an ambassador to every
life he touched. I always new he was special, but to so many others whom he
touched in his lifetime, he was a kind, considerate, and a loving human being.
We as his family thank you all so much. Matts mom, Sue, and Kathy.

Gone , but never forgotten .

I had the pleasure of working with Matt for over 6 years when he was in Egypt . We would meet once a week sometimes twice a week before I gave Modern Egypt lectures to his groups . It became a habit to meet early before the lecture to talk about all kind of things happening in Egypt and the Middle East. What ever discussions or different opinions we had, Matt was never condescendent, or resistant to other opinions . He was always ready to hear and learn about other people and their culture . My friends who worked with him on the tours , said he was always fair and keen that every one would get properly rewarded for their work.
Even though we have not met for the past 3 years , but Matt has always managed to stay in touch and check about Egypt and his friends there .
The greatest tribute to Matt is not grief but gratitude.
God Bless your soul Matt .
Manal S. Kelig

Matt with Peter Pappas

Matt arranged this picture with fellow TD Peter Pappas and the original local team of Seville guides, Conchita and Pablo and horse carriage Manolo.

Always in Jerusalem

Matt, Matt, Matt. Walking around Jerusalem earlier this week, I saw you everywhere: you were in front of the hotel, waiting for the tour to begin—what were we joking about this time?; you were handing out maps and taking dinner reservations; you were greeting everyone with your iconoclastic, trademark daily opening: “morning ladies and gents, today is the best day of the tour,” you were handing out water bottles and scarves (“for the ladies”) in the Old City; you were greeting everyone personally as we got to lunch. You were talking to all the locals, often giving charity to an elderly lady, who always asks me how you are. There you were, counting guests—no one can count that fast—counting luggage, counting change—always polite and efficient, but always reading to laugh. Your physical presence is so sorely missed in Jerusalem, Matt, but I know you are still here.

Matt and I met over five years ago just before the Israel/Jordan tours opened and as the Jerusalem guide we had worked together ever since. I learned a great deal from him—he treated everyone with respect: from the guests—each and everyone, no exceptions—to the bus drivers and guides; to the hotel managers and bellhops to the restaurant owners and waiters; to store owners to the street peddlers. More than the consummate professional that he surely was, Matt was the ultimate humanistic—never wavering from his belief in Mankind.

Over the years, Matt and I became much more than colleagues; we became close friends. How I shall miss our many conversations throughout the year, no matter where you were. I still hear you saying, “How are ya doing? How’s the family? ” How I shall miss our bus comedy routine, how I shall miss our serious political discussions. During the recent period of tension here, Matt called everyone he knew to ask how they were, just wanting to make sure they were safe. Knowing how worried I was, he kept saying “Don’t worry, Shell, it will work out; it will be alright.” He always spoke of his family, his Mom, sisters, brother-in-law, nephews and, of course, Kamran. And he got to know my family, happily chatting with my husband, Josh, if I wasn’t home. He visited me at home when my father passed away and was planning to attend my daughter’s wedding in a few weeks time. When I told my children that Matt had passed away, one daughter said: “No, can’t be, I was going to dance with him at the wedding!”

There are no goodbyes for you, Matt. I know you are still here. We are still having our regular conversations, but I shall so sorely miss your “larger than life” presence. I know the tours you are running from above are much greater than the ones you ran here: I know the tours you are running will eventually, somehow, lead to world peace in which you so wholeheartedly believe.

Shelley Kleiman Trachtenberg

SUPER MATEO

As a brand new “scared out of mind” Tauck TD in Spain during the fall of 2010 I immediately became acquainted with the “Mateo Legend”. Everyone gave me advise based on what Mateo would have done in every situation that came up. Clearly he was admired and loved by all the suppliers. I was in awe of the myth and the legend. The man had to be a SUPER HUMAN!!! (I thought) I REALLY wanted to meet him….One day I found myself in a panic: my “whispers” hadn’t arrived. I was a frazzled mess. A head receptionist suggested I call Mateo to get his advise. I had never dared speak to the great man before! I mustered up courage and called. He acted like he had known me all his life, he couldn’t have been nicer, sweeter or warmer. If you know him you are now laughing about his concern for not having “Whispers” for the group!!!! Put me totally at ease within seconds and offered valuable advise that has and will help me all my life. In that natural, easy way of his, he empowered me to become a self assured, relaxed and confident TD that could handle problems with composure. “Oh that’s nothing . Don’t worry! Everything has a solution. Things happen. Improvise. Don’t stress. This is not about brain surgery. it’s about our guests having a good time, a good trip. Don’t stress them. Be relaxed and they’ll be relaxed. Just take the lead and flow with it.” It was instant love for me. I fell in love with Matt. He took the time later that day to check up on me and see how it had gone. Something he continued to do along the years. I feel honored and blessed. Coach drivers, horse carriage drivers, receptionists, waiters, bell boys, maitres’d, etc ….have called me this past week. They have a need to express their love for Mateo also. One of them said: “los grandes se van muy pronto, muy rapido y muy callados” (The great ones go too soon, too fast and too quietly) We feel a bit like orphans here in Spain without him. Matt was a nurturer. A SUPER HUMANE being! Silvana.

In Rememberance…

Dear Matt,

I never had the pleasure of having you as my tour guide on any Tauck trips I have taken or having met and shared with you personally; but having seen and read all the touching comments from friends and Tauck family members alike, I can see you were a “wonderful” and talented person….”rest in peace” Matt…
Pat Trani, Tauck Reservations Agent

For being who you are…

As a TD I’ve known the legend of Matt for twenty years without ever having met him more than peripherally. Nonetheless, he recently directly caused me to change how I greet my guests on the first night of tour. Gail Hazen attended his break-out during the Boston seminar and was so impressed that she later shared with me some of his ideas. One of them was how to immediately embrace and put our guests at ease — by NOT scaring the heck out of them about always being on time. I had always stressed such timeliness, even making what I thought was a joke that I’d leave late-comers behind, but Matt’s philosophy that the our guests, Tauck guests, should be put at ease rather than terrified into submission made a lot of sense to me.

I thus began to put Matt’s approach to work in my tours — just this spring — and I’ve been amazed at how many of my guests actually noticed and commented on how put at ease (using those exact words) they felt on the first night! My guests hadn’t really specifically said before. I thought about e-mailing Matt to say thanks, but since I’d never really met him I decided it was over-the-top bizarre or whatever.

Yes. Now I wish I had e-mailed him. I don’t care if it would have been over-the-top, it would have also been nice just to let him know that I, someone he didn’t know, had been touched by and therefore admired him. We as humans don’t pick that up through osmosis.

If ya’ll start getting funky o-t-t messages from me, please know it’s because of Matt. I’d hate to miss another chance to say ‘thanks for the person you are’

Thanks, Matt, a little late.
Debi

My Dear “Egyptian” Friend

I spent 8 truly amazing years with Matt on “The Jewels of the Nile.” Matt was the grandest jewel of all. We fell in love with Egypt together. It became a second home for us. My heart and thoughts are full of so many memories of him. Some of my favorites are the late nights when I would sneak down the hotel hall in my pajamas to unwind with him in his room where he lay sprawled out in his galabeya – looking very much the Egyptian himself. We talked about everything. That’s where he shared with me his personal TD philosophy which he called the zen of tour directing. “Get rid of the paper, Nancy!” He was a master at immediately and creatively dealing with challenges; an inspiration to watch when working with people; the most caring, giving person I’ve ever known. I can’t believe he’s gone. I keep expecting to see him walk through the door with a coke in one hand, that ever-present smile on his face, and the words on his lips, “Life is Good.” Mattie, life doesn’t seem quite as good with you gone. As your dear friend Ahmed would say, “We all miss you too much.” Nancy Davis

My dearest friend……

I don’t remember when Matt and I first spoke but it seems like we’ve been friends from the very start. We would talk for hours, sharing stories and laughing. He would tell me what’s happening “on the road” and I would fill him in on what was happening in the office. Then before saying good-bye he would always say “I miss you” or “I love you” and I would say the same.

Getting to see him in Boston and hanging out again in our special place was so wonderful. I guess there is a reason for everything.

Matt, you will forever be in my heart and soul. You have departed this earth and flown to heaven and for the first time ever I couldn’t book your flight…..but I’ll bet you went first class! I love you. – Lori

Que vaya bien Giant Impish Leprechaun!

Once I asked Matt about his tour guide experience pre-Tauck. He replied that he worked, I think I recall, for some tour company back east on domestic tours. There, he said, he honed in his TD skills…
For example, for a long stretch, wherever it was, without much to comment on en route, he’d entertain the busload with collecting bets (of quarters) to wager WHICH roll of toilet paper would roll the faster to the end of the bus aisle.
Every time I see/use a motor coach toilet to this day, I think of that image of him as a ‘bookie aboard’ hawking this t.p. wager! So Matt in the moment. His imagination and wicked wit a delight…
I think that we can imagine he was torn apart personally recently by the Mideast Meltdown where Life is NOT Good for the moment, but COULD be if their was the comprehensive WILL to make the way… to heal the deep wounds there.. And laughter would be the best medicine once out of survival mode…
So Peace Maker On Earth Matteo, may you rest in mischief in Paradise… and thank you for raising the bar on ALL of us to be master storytellers… …And thank you for my Santiago de Compostella Coquille St. Jacques pendant you knew was so meaningful to me per our conversation at Boston ‘BE STRONG’ TD Seminar… I received it AFTER you passed away so I trust you get this note of gratitude up there in Cyber Space Cloud Land… TD Dixie La Grande

Singular, all encompassing and thoroughly passionate-a complete human being-Matt Curran

I sincerely appreciate this form to share our memories of Matt.

I first met Matt in November 1993, while we were developing our first “Spain and Portugal” tour. Keith Baron and Herbert Weisse sent me out to the car in front of the hotel, and told me to introduce myself to Matt. When I climbed in the car, Matt told me, that he had been waiting to meet me, that he had heard a lot about me, and now that we had met, we would become best friends for life. To be frank, I didn’t know what to think, but by the end of the training trip, we were good friends, and Matt brought me home to meet his family in Rhode Island, and then I drove him up to Canada to join Kamran. Along the way we stopped in my home in Vermont, where my family met Matt. As always, he won over everybody he met, and he also had the amazing ability to make me feel welcome no matter where we would meet up. A few of my memories include:

After working in Spain and Portugal for quite a few years, we finally had a schedule where we could get together and travel before our seasons started, and both of us had waited to see “Semana Santa” (Holy Week) in Sevilla together. From the nightlong festivities of this amazing spectacle we ventured down to Morocco and Ceuta to spend a few days. It was the type of trip that both of us knew we would cherish forever, and we somehow managed to get back to our respective positioning places for the start up of our long high season assignments.

Another vivid memory was when I finally got Matt to visit a special hotel in Portugal, called ‘Bussaco’. I knew he would love the Manueline architecture, the serene setting in a deep forest, and especially the Port Wine. In no time at all, Matt was showing me around the place as if it belonged to him, and of course, it did.

Getting to visit Matt in his homes during the time he spent in Europe was always of great interest. Matt had the ability to locate and find the most amazing apartments, like the one he and Kamran rented in Madrid, but especially the ‘house’ they rented in central Paris (how many houses are there in Paris?). Spending time with Matt and Kamran was always special, and a true meeting of the minds, hearts and spirits. To see Matt relaxing at home was also very special, and with Kamran he could let his guard down and kick back, such a complete difference from the professional Matt, who ceaselessly worked for the enjoyment of the guests, welfare of the local staff, and assisting in the welfare of those who were less fortunate.

The one thing that remained constant in Matt’s life was his love of his family and his love of Kamran. For the 21 years that I knew Matt, he never ended a conversation without saying “I love you”, and he never let anything interfere with our friendship. I know how deeply he affected so many others, in this same way, and his incredible sense of humor coupled with his love of life inspired countless people all over the world.

While Matt was truly a public person, he was also profoundly private and protective of those he loved closely. It is at this time, that I wish to extend tremendous gratitude to both his family and to Kamran, for being the foundation of Matt’s life, and for providing him with the love he could then share with the rest of the world. Thank You for the love you gave Matt.

Thank you Matt

Whenever I talked to Matt I felt like I was a guest on his tour. Everything was exciting, fun, informative and you always suspected there was a lagniappe coming!
It was also impossible to not be positive and upbeat around Matt. He filled up the room and our hearts with incredible spirit and love of life.
I can’t help but smile when I think of him and I know I join countless numbers of employees, suppliers and guests who feel the same way.
Thank you Matt.
You were one of a kind. We will never forget you.- Sharyn Cannon

From a Facebook Posting by Mark Goldsmith-Holt

Matt Curran has been a dear friend to me since I met him when we were on the team opening Tauck’s Israel/Jordan trip. Talking about him in the past tense is something I’ll put off for a while. When I heard a couple hours ago about his unexpected death this morning, I called several mutual friends to let them know. What is so typical of Matt, is that each and every one of them said, “But I just talked to him YESTERDAY (or the day or two days) before!” It’s almost like he knew…or that karma was working for him. He changes the world, one friend at a time. I wish you all the best on your new journey, Matt! And just think, my friend: nooooooo bags to count on this trip! Whoooppeeeeeee!

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