Bainbridge Island, Wash. - Charlotte Dorothea Cuff passed away Dec. 6, 2013, at her home on Bainbridge Island. |
Char was born Aug. 27, 1941, in Nyack, N.Y., to George A. Cuff and Viola "Dolly" Dorothea (Rehberger) Cuff. Char's father, a supervisor with Gair Paper Co., was transferred to Montville in 1955, and they made their home in Giant's Neck, Niantic.
Char graduated from New London High School and LadyCliff College in Highland Falls, N.Y., majoring in English literature with a minor in fine arts. She was editor-in-chief of the LadyCliff Scroll.
The youngest of four children, Char was predeceased by her parents, sister, Julie C. Trowbridge, brothers, George W. Cuff and John D. Cuff, all of Connecticut; nephew, Jeffrey Cuff of Montville; and grand nephews, Larry V. Wilts of East Lyme and Michael Cuff of Andover, Maine.
She is survived by her beloved black Lab, BoJangles, eight nephews, six nieces, 30 great nephews and nieces, 20 great-great nephews and nieces, and a great-great-great nephew.
Char's first job out of college was on the Chevron staff at Lederle Laboratories in Pearl River, N.Y. (now Pfizer). During this time, Char played first base on the women's professional fast pitch softball team, Raybestos Brakettes in Stratford.
After answering a listing of "Man Wanted Job", she moved on to the Powerine Oil Co., in Los Angeles, Calif., and was hired as editor of the official news publication "Independent." Award-winning and historical articles on petroleum in California, gas price wars and why they happen, and a background of offshore drilling for oil were penned by Char. The paper doubled in size under her supervision. Char very often visited the oil fields to get a hands-on feel for the industry and was presented with a pink hard hat by the oil field crew as she trudged through the fields in her high heels.
Missing her large Irish family and the intense competition of the Northeast, she moved back home to New York. Lederle had now been purchased by American Cyanamid Co., a leading American conglomerate which became one of the nation's top 100 manufacturing companies during the 1970s. American Cyanamid through many acquisitions is now a Pfizer company. Char was anxious to rejoin the ranks of her first employer, and she was welcomed with high regard. She worked her way up the ranks, being the first woman to break through the glass ceiling of American Cyanamid's top management, earning the title of Director of Public Affairs, International Division.
During her time at Cyanamid, Char met President Carter when Cyanamid partnered with the Carter Foundation to eradicate guinea worm disease in Africa.
Char retired to her beloved Bainbridge Island in 1996. While on Bainbridge, she attended watercolor drawing classes at the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle and the Winslow Art Center in Bainbridge. An avid cook and being the consummate "editor," Char revised all printed recipes, and the end result was mouth-watering. She was a true gourmet chef and planned many dinner parties for friends and family.
A skilled photographer, she loved photo-shooting the children in the family and flora and fauna. Inheriting the New York Yankee gene, Char enjoyed managing the team in her favorite chair on the West Coast and had numerous tips for Joe Torre.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014, at the Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 48 Grand St., Niantic.
Donations may be sent to Animal Welfare League of New London County, Inc., PO Box 1760, Groton, CT 06340.
Published in The Day on Aug. 20, 2014