Born in Ickenham, west of London, John joined the Royal Air Force at the age of 17 during the Battle of Britain. Within months he was a navigator with an elite bomber crew, flying missions over Europe. In 1943, John's crew was shot down over Reims in occupied France. He was the only survivor. In his attempt to reach neutral Spain, he was imprisoned by Nazi soldiers. Ever resourceful, he made four escapes, only to be recaptured three times. He was rescued in 1945.
In 1946, John became manager of a large tea plantation in North India, where he dealt with international trade, militant trade unions, and invading tigers. While at the plantation, he began to pick up "The Voice of Prophecy" on Radio Ceylon, the first radio station in Asia. Through the broadcast and its Bible course, John, "the most blasphemous man on the plantations," according to his colleagues, became a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. On a three-month furlough to England in 1954, John met Joan Gallaher, an RN and midwife from Stanborough Park. Within 13 weeks they were married and on their way back to the tea plantation in India.
In 1958, the Curnows returned to England, where John became a literature evangelist, later, the publishing secretary of the South England Conference. In 1964, they sailed back to India, where John served as publishing secretary for the South India Union, then principal and business manager of Lowry Memorial School in Bangalore, followed by publishing director for the Southern Asia Division. The Curnows came to the U.S. in 1979 to work for Christian Record Braille Foundation.
John and Joan have a special place in their hearts for missionaries, having served for 15 years in India. They also have a special interest in scholarships. "A tremendous amount of grant and scholarship money came to our four children for grade school through medical school. On missionary salaries we would never have been able to give our children all the advantages of Christian education without that help. Now we want to help other people's children," they explain in crisp British accents.
Scholarship award requirements
This scholarship is awarded to returning student missionaries.
2020-2021-Shania Ramirez Robles, Terrence Simmons
2019-2020 -Leslia Rea
2018-2019 -Josh Ramirez
2016-2017 -Dale Samson Sambeba
2015-2016 - Mariane Espricueta
2014-2015 - Isai Ramirez
2013-2014 - Kelsey Laue
2012-2013 - Sarah Shelly
2010-2011 - Roxanna Chinias
2009-2010 - Ana Niandiko
2008-2009 - Chandler Sinclair, Anthony Vargas
2007-2008 - Lindsay Hong, Thomas Mcdonald
2006-2007 - Sara Smith, Lindsay Westbrook
2005-2006 - Adam Unsworth