Sept. 20, 1950 - April 12, 2013
Resident of Santa Cruz
George Thomas Cuneo Jr., age 62, passed away in Santa Cruz, California on April 12, 2013. George was born in Yonkers, New York on September 20, 1950 to George and Winifred Cuneo. He grew up in Elmsford, New York and graduated from Stepinac High School. He attended Pace University for a year then worked briefly as a taxi driver and school bus driver, all the while dreaming of moving to California.
One evening in June of 1971, the journey west began. He and his friend picked up two hitchhikers at the George Washington Bridge in New York. They were bound for the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, so George and his friend drove them there. After his car broke down, George hitched a ride to Wenatchee, Washington and spent his 21st birthday picking apples, then hitched another ride to California. He arrived in Santa Cruz on Halloween of 1971. He never left.
George worked at the Catalyst as an emcee and bartender for many years, at the J & J Card Club as a manager and poker dealer from 1975-1990. "I loved everything about it - the whole milieu and all the crazy people who hung out there." George said.
George spent the last 25 years as a licensed counselor in the mental health field focusing on those afflicted with substance abuse problems. Throughout this time he positively influenced the lives of hundreds of recovering alcoholics and addicts. George was an active member of the Santa Cruz community, with many, many close friends. His humble ways and soulfulness, his giving nature, his sense of humor and his way of loving unconditionally made him a unique and inspirational man.
George was a survivor of two liver transplants and a kidney transplant. His courage and attitude throughout his health issues was extraordinary - and his lived his life in gratitude, one day at a time, as a result.
George is survived by his niece, Meghan and her four children, his niece Jessica and her three children, and his nephew Frank and his son due in July. Frank. George is also survived by his foster daughter, Grace. He is preceded in death by his parents George and Winifred, and his sister Joan that passed December 24, 2009. George is leaving behind childhood friends that he remained close to throughout all the years and countless friends in Santa Cruz.
George loved music, reading, traveling, and being a good friend. "When I look back on my life," he said in his last days, "I figure I did what I did, and the only regrets I have were the things I didn't do."
Memorial Services will be held on April 27, 2013 at 3:00pm at Santa Cruz First Church of Nazarene, 115 South Morrissey Ave., Santa Cruz, California.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the American Liver Foundation, www.liverfoundation.org/howtohelp
Thank you all for making George's life rich and full of love and support both throughout his life and his passing. He was a man full of abundant love, bringing joy to everyone he knew. He will surely be missed, but in our hearts forever more.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Apr. 21, 2013