Naples, Fla. - Major General (Ret.) William A. Cugno, 63, of Naples, Fla., formerly of Southington, died unexpectedly Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011.
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Born April 4, 1948, in Waterbury, he was the son of Anthony and Marie Cugno of Harwich, Mass. He graduated from Waterbury's Crosby High School in 1967. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic in 1984 and a master's degree in public administration from Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, Pa., in 1991.
General Cugno served as the adjutant general and commander of the Connecticut Army and Air National Guard from June 1999 until his retirement in April 2005. Prior to becoming the adjutant general, during his 38 year military career, he served in several command and staff positions. General Cugno was a combat veteran of Vietnam where he served as a platoon leader from August 1968 to 1969 with the 9th Infantry Division. He joined the Connecticut Army National Guard in 1970 and held several staff and company command positions to include the 1st Battalion, 192nd (coastal) Artillery; Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 242nd Engineer Battalion; 130th Public Affairs Detachment. Following his company commands, General Cugno served as the Connecticut National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Manager for eight years. He then served as the commander of the 242nd Combat Engineer Battalion. Upon graduation from the U.S. Army War College, General Cugno was assigned as the commander of the 85th Troop Command, a brigade-size command, and served until 1994 when he was named the State Director of Plans, Operations, and Military Support for the Connecticut Military Department.
In 1996, he served as the chief of staff for the City of Waterbury and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of city government.
General Cugno earned many military decorations and awards including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device with three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with one Silver Hourglass Device, Army Service Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 Device; and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. He was a member of many civic organizations including the National Guard Associations of the United States and Connecticut, the Association of the United States Army and the American Legion.
General Cugno is survived by his parents; his proud daughters, Krista Cugno Lofquist of Southington, Kara Cugno of Greenwich; brothers, Richard and Thomas Cugno; his sister, Terri Kurkjian; his granddaughters, Natalie and Sofia Lofquist, who adored their "Papa"; his nieces, Anna Kurkjian and Bridget Cugno; his nephews, Anthony Cugno and Christopher Kurkjian; his son-in-law, Mark Lofquist; his former wife of 37 years and the mother of his children, Carolyn Cugno; and his Labrador, "Harley."
He was an avid outdoorsman with a passion for fishing, hunting, cooking, and riding his Harley. He volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Florida Patriot Guard. Most recently, he enjoyed his retirement by spending time with his family and friends, restoring street rod cars, and renovating properties. He loved life, his country, and his family. He will be greatly missed by all.
A wake will be conducted from noon until 3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21, 2011, in Nett Hall, Camp Niantic, 36 Smith St., Niantic, followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m. Interment will be private at a later date. A memorial service date in Naples will be conducted at a date and time to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be sent to the Connecticut National Guard Foundation, Inc. (CTNGFI), 360 Broad St., Hartford CT 06105-3706.
Please visit www.neilanfuneralhome.com for directions or to send a condolence message to the family.
Published in The Day on Nov. 18, 2011