Richard Cudina, 46, was a broker at Cantor Fitzgerald, but his heart was far from the buttoned-down world of Wall Street.
As a young man, he was a daredevil on the ski slopes of northern New Jersey, barreling off the trail to glide between trees and seeking out boulders from which to launch himself skyward. When he graduated from college, he became a cruise ship director and bummed around ski resorts in Colorado and Switzerland. His idea of fun as a grownup was to pilot helicopters around Manhattan.
A month before he died, Cudina, a Jimmy Buffett disciple, told his friends and family how he wanted to be remembered.
"He wanted us to smoke cigars, drink margaritas and pina coladas, and he'd pick up the tab," said his brother, Chris. "He wanted his remains scattered over the ocean someplace beautiful."
The family planned to gather in New Jersey this weekend to remember Cudina. It may not be the tropics, but his brother is planning his own small tribute. He'll be wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.
Richard Cudina, kept everyone laughing
Richard Joseph Cudina was looking forward to an annual golf trip last Sunday.
A longtime bond broker at many prestigious Wall Street firms, Mr. Cudina, 46, was known to family and friends as the person who always stayed in touch, from impulsive phone calls to more elaborate get-togethers like the golf excursion.
A year ago, Mr. Cudina took a job at Cantor Fitzgerald. He was at work Sept. 11 when a terrorist attack destroyed the World Trade Center, where his office was located.
"He was the brother in a high- powered, cut-throat, money-making career who would call his family just to say, 'I'm thinking of you and I love you,' " his wife, Georgia, and brothers, William, Marcus and Christopher, said in a statement.
Mr. Cudina faced many challenges in his life, including hip replacement surgeries that took away one of his avid pursuits, skiing. But he remained "a bit of an adventurer," according to his family, even obtaining a commercial helicopter license.
In more than 20 years on Wall Street, Mr. Cudina also worked for companies such as Garban Corporates, Chapdelaine Corp. and Lasser Marshall Inc. Prior to his career as a bond broker, Mr. Cudina worked as a cruise director for the Bramson Entertainment Agency.
A longtime resident of Secaucus, Mr. Cudina married Georgia Sedelmeyer in July 1996. Four years ago, looking for a more rural setting, they bought a house in Glen Gardner.
For Mr. Cudina, that meant waking early for a 60-mile commute, but he was willing to make the trek.
"No one could spend an afternoon, an hour or even a few minutes with him without laughing," according to the family statement. "His colleagues, friends and family now are challenged to hold on to his stories, his memories and rekindle his laughter."
Visiting hours will be from 1 to 9 p.m. Friday at McCorry Brothers Funeral Home, 780 Anderson Ave., Cliffside Park.
Services will be at 7:45 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. A 9 a.m. funeral Mass will follow at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Fairview.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the American Red Cross New York Relief Fund, P.O. Box 97089, Washington, D.C. 20013, or the Salvation Army, P.O. Box C635, West Nyack, N.Y. 10994-1739.
Profile by Joe Tyrrell published in THE STAR-LEDGER.