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Barbara Mary Curcio

May 31, 1935 — January 29, 2022

Barbara Mary Curcio

Barbara Mary Curcio, of Oklahoma City, OK, passed away January 29, 2022, at the age of 86.Barbara was born May 31, 1935, in Philadelphia, PA, to Anthony James and Helen Curcio (Vassallo), who both preceded her in death. Also preceding her in death were her brothers; Jim and Michael; her sister-in-law Grace (married to Jim); and, nephew Mark.Barbara attended Germantown High School, the Albert Einstein School of Radiologic Technology, and Temple University in Philadelphia. She was a lifelong educator (in her profession and within her family and faith). She was a dedicated researcher, producer of numerous scientific publications, and master of her craft in the field of Radiologic Technology. Barbara began her health career in 1954, working at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, where she became Supervisor of the Mammography Section in their Division of Radiology. In the mid 1960's, Barbara was part of a team of medical professionals at Albert Einstein who pioneered modern mammographic techniques for early breast cancer detection. In 1966, she co-authored, with three doctors at Einstein, an innovative research paper that focused on describing how mammography can be used to locate unsuspected breast cancer cells. In 1967, their study results, "Mammographic Screening for Breast Cancer, Results of a 10 Year Study", was published in the journal, Radiology, and this work has been referenced in breast cancer publications up to the present day. Barbara's research, and her successful work experience in medical imaging and radiation sciences, led to her recruitment and hiring by the University of Oklahoma (OU) in 1969, where she received an appointment to the College of Medicine as an Associate Professor (earning a full Professorship in 1978). In Oklahoma, Barbara helped establish the first medical imaging procedure of low dose mammography in the state; and, later helped develop Oklahoma's very first mammography screening center. She also was a lifetime member of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, serving as their President-Elect/President from 1971-1973 and on their Boards of Directors and Trustees from 1970-1978.At OU, Professor Curcio developed the University's initial educational program in radiography that was later approved for a baccalaureate degree; and, led the formation of their Department of Radiologic Technology, where she served as its first Program Director in 1970. Also, Professor Curcio was a founding faculty member of the University's College of Allied Health (1981) and played a major role in the development of the first inter-professional department in the College (now named the Department of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences). In 1994, Professor Curcio's outstanding teaching, guidance, & leadership of students in an academic discipline was recognized by OU when she was honored both as a David Ross Boyd Professor (appointed "Emeritus" for life when she retired from full-time teaching in 1998) and as Vice-Chair of the College's Department of Radiologic Technology. In 1997, the Barbara M. Curcio Lectureship in Radiologic Technology was established at OU. The mission of the Lectureship was, and continues to be, to bring speakers and activities to the OU Health Sciences Center that, as Professor Curcio did, "perpetuate the ideals of science, integrity, collaboration, social awareness, diversity and human flourishing."After retiring from OU in 1998, Professor Curcio voluntarily taught on OU's Norman campus for many years to help students learn about programs and careers in all the colleges of the Health Sciences Center. Additionally, Barbara was an avid reader and collector of books. In retirement, Barbara became actively involved in the parish and various ministries at St Eugene Catholic Church, where she: established weekly Adoration, led this ministry, and greatly expanded the program for parishioners of all ages; served on the Parish Council; was an integral planner in designing and implementing the church's annual International Festival Fundraiser; helped support First Communion religious education programs; and, was recognized as a "Woman of Achievement" in 2011.Barbara was a devoted aunt, second mother, cousin, professional colleague, and parishioner who was happiest when spending time with family and friends. She was a loving, sincere, and caring person who always thought of others first and had an unabashed love for Christ. Barbara's memory will be cherished by her surviving and adoring family: sister-in-law Barbara; nephews Jim Curcio (Jill), Chris Curcio, and Michael Curcio (Sherryn); nieces Julie Palmer (Bob), Barbara Schleper (Steve), Karen Chilton (Mark), and Jennifer Livingston (Gary); and, 25 great and great-great nieces and nephews.The family is enormously and forever grateful for the many years of dedicated care and love provided to Barbara by Mrs. Sandra Williams. It also expresses its heartfelt appreciation for the care Barbara received during her illness by the staff of Right at Home In Home Care and Bellevue Health and Rehabilitation in Oklahoma City. A Rosary and Wake Service will take place at 7 PM on Tuesday, February 8 at the Smith and Kernke Funeral home in Oklahoma City, 14624 N May Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73134. Barbara's Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Wednesday, February 9, at 11:30 AM at Saint Eugene Catholic Church, 2400 W Hefner Rd, The Village, OK 73120. Barbara's burial and graveside service will be in Philadelphia on Saturday, February 12 at 1PM at Holy Cross Cemetery, 626 Baily Rd, Yeadon, PA 19050. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Barbara M. Curcio Lectureship fund at the OU Foundation. Checks should be made out to the OU Foundation with "Barbara Curcio Lectureship #50513" in the memo line and sent to P.O. Box 258856 Oklahoma City, OK 73125-9935. Online contributions can be made at giving.oufoundation.org by typing "Barbara M. Curcio Lectureship" into the search for a fund bar.
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