We’ve hinted about it and announced it. We’ve celebrated his career and accomplishments. This week, though, it became final: Tom Curti retires.
Tom Curti, Wisconsin transplant
In 1973, Tom moved from his native Wisconsin to Tucson in order to attend the University of Arizona College of Law. He had grown up in a small town outside La Crosse, Wisconsin. The remaining eleven Curti siblings wished him well in his travel to the desert southwest.
Tucson looked pretty exotic, but Tom took to it. Like many Arizona law graduates, he decided to stay. But he has always demonstrated that, though you can take the boy out of Wisconsin … well, you know how that line ends.
Tom has regularly demonstrated a peculiar talent. On entering any room full of strangers, within minutes he can find, befriend and engage in close conversation with the one stranger with Wisconsin ties.
Tom graduated from law school and passed the Arizona bar exam in 1976. In fact, he became a lawyer just minutes before his classmate Robert Fleming. The Arizona State Bar assigns every new lawyer a number, issued in chronological order. Tom’s number is nine digits lower than Robert’s.
In early 1977, Tom was persuaded to join the very-new law firm of Vincent & Fleming; the partnership was renamed Vincent, Fleming & Curti. Within a year the three lawyers had added a fourth. That partnership was Tom’s first, and would presage a later return to the same principal partner.
The young partnership (both in time and in ages of partners) broke up in 1979, and the partners went their separate (professional) ways. About that same time, though, Tom met his future wife, Lois. In fact, he was introduced by mutual friends Robert and Rhonda Fleming. Tom and Lois got married and had three boys: Chris, Andy and Stephen.
While Tom was a sole practitioner, Robert was off trying government law jobs. When he went back into private law practice, he and Tom began to work together again — though informally at first. In 1991 and 1992, Tom spearheaded a search for an office building that the two could share.
Beginning in 1992, Tom and Robert moved into the converted residence they have occupied since, at 330 N. Granada Ave. Actually, when they moved in it was 396 N. Granada Ave. — but that’s a story for another day.
Fleming & Curti, PLC, is formed
In 1994 Tom and Robert decided to try partnership again. That choice seems to have been validated by its 25-year successful run. People who are not close observers of the law practice may not appreciate that a 25-year partnership is actually an extraordinary thing.
When Tom and Robert started their second partnership, they had a combined three employees. Today, as Tom Curti retires, the staff has grown to twenty-two. The partners have worked on a local, regional and national reputation for elder law, trust administration, and especially special needs trusts. Tom has been a fixture in that environment for a quarter century.
The Fleming & Curti, PLC, family has included legal assistants, case managers, financial staff (and, for the past several years, a CPA), partners and associate attorneys. In his quarter century of partnership and 43 years of practice, Tom has been known as a calm, centered practitioner with a big heart and exceptional skills. His talents will be sorely missed.
Tom Curti retires
Late last year, Tom decided it was time to play more golf and spend less time staring at computer screens. His colleagues and staff made an announcement, scheduled (and hosted) a big celebration of his practice, and prepared for the now-inevitable eventuality. Still, it has seemed unreal — but this week, it became real.
What will Tom do now? We suspect golf will be involved. So will real estate work (he and his wife have, over the years, acquired property that needs management and development). His sons, and their wives, will undoubtedly make a claim on his time.
What will we do without him?
Tom will be sorely missed. His philosophy of practice will carry forward with the new partners in the firm, Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman and Jacquelyne J. Mingle. Even a casual reader might note that it will take two new partners to fill in for (not replace) him.
Tom’s legacy will include a spirit of compassion and calm. Besides that, we do not expect him to be a stranger to the firm. If you have had the pleasure of working or interacting with Tom in the past 43 years, rest assured: though Tom Curti retires, his spirit and his influence will not.