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Leslie Curry was born in November 1922 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. He received the standard grammar school education and at the age of 18 volunteered for the Royal Navy and served in Egypt and Normandy. After the war he attended Kings College at the University of Durham, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in geography and economics in 1949. Two years later he received a masters’ degree in geography from Johns Hopkins University while he was a Fulbright Scholar. He worked as an economist at the United Nations and then at Charles Warren Thornthwaite’s Laboratory of Climatology in Seabrook, New Jersey. His doctoral degree in geography was awarded from the University of Auckland in New Zealand in 1959.
While at the University of Auckland, he was employed as Lecturer from 1953-1960. He then accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Maryland (1960-1963). In 1964, he moved to the University of Toronto as Associate Professor in the Department of Geography. He moved up the ranks to full Professor in 1965. He was appointed Professor Emeritus following his retirement in 1985. Following his retirement he moved with his second wife, Caryl Pines Curry, to Annapolis, Maryland
In analyzing his body of work, Prof. Curry is described as a “modeler, using stochastic analysis to delve deeply into processes, especially economic, that produce the patters and flows of the world.”
Prof. Curry was the recipient of the Canadian Association of Geographers’ Award for Scholarly Distinction in 1977 and the first professor from the University of Toronto to receive the International Geographical Union’s prestigious Lauréat d’Honneur 2000. The IGU citation describes him as “ ‘ a scholar who by way of his contributions in climatology, economic geography and spatial analysis has challenged established lines of thinking and provided valuable new insights into the ways whereby human behavior shapes the world we live in. Professor Curry’s theoretical studies in economic geography, especially studies that draw upon the mathematics of probability theory and the concepts of physical systems analysis, have been unmatched in their originality and rigor and have established his international reputation as one of the leading theoreticians in the discipline.’ ”
He died at his home in Annapolis, Maryland on January 12, 2009.
“In memoriam: Professor Emeritus Leslie Curry” by Dave Unwin. Published online by the Quantitative Methods Research Group (QMRG). Royal Geographical Society. 2009/04/13.