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Date of Birth: August 26, 1955
Position: Broker, Cantor Fitzgerald
“Live as if you were expected to live 100 years but might die tomorrow.”
After completing his college career at Kean University in 1978, Richard Cudina was not quite ready for a quiet desk job. An avid skier, he followed his passion to various mountain resorts throughout the United States and Europe and bartered his labor in exchange for the privilege of skiing pristine slopes like those of St. Moritz. Though hip-replacement operations rendered him unable to continue such pursuits, Cudina’s work-for-ski scheme was far from his last recreational escapade.
A member of the Sigma Beta Tau fraternity during his days on campus, Cudina earned a bachelor of the arts degree in recreation administration from Kean in 1978. The following year, he began work as an assistant cruise director for Bramson Entertainment Agency Home Lines, spending much of the next few years in Bermuda and the Caribbean Islands.
Before long, Cudina was ready to take on Wall Street, spending several years as a broker in Eurodollars at Lesser Marshall, Inc. and brokering foreign exchange and emerging markets for Chapdelaine Corp. He also managed the emerging fixed income desk for Garban Corp. for eight years before moving on to develop an emerging market desk at Cantor Fitzgerald in 2000. His remarkable progress was abruptly halted when the 46-year-old Cudina perished in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
During his years on Wall Street, Cudina obtained a commercial helicopter license and often treated friends and family to aerial tours over New York and New Jersey. He also married his longtime friend, Georgia Sedelmeyer, in July 1996, a year before the couple moved from Secaucus to the more rural Glen Gardner, N.J.
Though Cudina developed a reputation as a determined risk-taker, he never lost his soft edge. “Throughout his life, Richie faced many great challenges, and, without fail, he accepted and overcame them all,” said Georgia. “He was a friendly, witty and gracious person with an infectiously happy philosophy toward life and was a loyal and steadfast friend to anyone who took the time to know him.”
After his hip-replacements, Cudina cultivated a passion for golf. Consistently scoring in the mid-80s, he sank his first hole-in-one on January 21, 2001 in St. Lucia and had planned a golf outing in Ocean City, MD for the weekend of September 15.
Both at work and at play, Cudina maintained a consistent desire for fun. “He was the life of the party,” his brother Christopher Cudina said. “When he made an entrance, he made Hollywood stunt people look kind of mundane. He had that swagger. The car would stop short, and he would pop out with a cigar.”
Georgia also recounted the thoughts of one of Cudina’s friends and clients. “He was fun to be with, animated and full of insights into life, and he was a gift to all who knew him.” Cudina had family in England, Ireland and Australia, and maintained friendships throughout South America, New Zealand and Europe. To Georgia, he was remarkable in his ability to stay in touch with them all. “To his family, he was the love connection,” she explained, “His caring and kindness knew no bounds. Richie always made sure they were taken care of and that they knew they were loved. He was a very special person to all who had the privilege of knowing him.”
Christopher Cudina said his brother confided in him several months ago what he would like to happen if he should pass on. “He said, ‘I want people to wear Hawaiian shirts, smoke cigars, drink margaritas, and it’s all on me.'” Christopher recalled. “Kind of morbid, I know, but that was my brother.”
I only knew Richie as we all called him for a few months while working in Garban, he always used to make us laugh. He was a joker and had a great personality, he always used to talk about his cigars that was his thing to talk about. My condolences go out to Georgia, he used to talk about her all the time, and to all of his family, I will never forget him.
Richie was more than my friend. It’s difficult to put into words the feelings I have. It’s like I’ve lost a part of myself. We played craps together, golfed together, smoked cigars together, vacationed together, shared our successes and failures together. He would call when he didn’t hear from me for a couple of days to make sure I was all right. How many people really care if you are all right? Richie had a child like innocence that was contagious, a temper like the tazmanian devil, and a heart as big as all outdoors. He has had a profound and wonderful affect on my life and will be with me forever. My best friend and brother is gone but not forgotten!
Ritchie, my cousin for 46 years. We had some great times when you came to Swanage for your holidays, in our younger years. You were a great guy and I am proud you were my cousin. God bless. Tony and Mary.
Richard was a 100% family member. He not only showed concern for his close family in the States, but was always keenly interested in those of us elsewhere in the world.
I think his phone bill must have been enormous as he quite often rang friends and family in the U.K. to make sure they were all right.
A friend to man and an encouragement to all.
God bless you, Richie!
Your cousin, David
Right off the bat on my first day Richard made me feel so Welcome. We would always talk when he came down to the cafe. We both had a passion for food and would talk about it all the time. Before that job I worked for Wolfgang Puck and he always used to tell me how he and his wife really liked him. He wanted to know if he really was friendly like that in person. It was always such a joy for me to get to know him. From what I knew he was a very great man and one that will truly be missed. My prayers are with you, his family.
My brother Richard was my mentor, and my hero. Generations to come have been cheated out of knowing or meeting the real Richie but his life, deeds and spirit we remain with us forever. He touched so many lives that I wish we all could lead such a full rewarding life as he did. So read his tribute above and if you are asked to sum up his life you can confidently reply: The legendary Richard Cudina’s life, some of it magic, some of it tragic but he had a great life all the way!
Love your baby brother Christopher
Richard, Richie, Rich………You have touched our lives in so many different ways that there are only two adjectives that can ever describe you, FRIENDLY & KIND. Be it family, neighbor, co-worker, team-mate, student or instructor you were always a friend first. I will always remember the most memorable tour you provided for me as you piloted a rental helicopter over the Manhattan skyline from Linden, NJ to the GWB and returned over Cliffside Park to wave to your mom, Joy. You will always be remembered as a kind friend and remain always in our hearts.
Dave & Diane Basile
I met Richard through Georgia. I didn’t really get to know him as much as I would have liked, however from what I did know, he was an excellent man.
Whenever I spoke with him on the phone he would always ask how I was doing, about school, and what was going on with me before getting to the reason why he called. He cared for others in a way that is rarely seen, and should be appreciated.
He will be greatly missed.
In my class, my teacher told us we had to write about our treasure. It could be a toy or a person or whatever. This is what I wrote:
“My uncel Richy is my treasure because he takes good care of me. Also he makes me lafth because he tells funny jokes. Also he made me do cool tricks in the water. He also brot me cool latre (lottery) tickets. He also helped people. Last he was very kind to pepole. By Brian”
To my dear friend,
Through the years growing up on Oakwood Avenue, Joy and Tony, the boys next door, and movie pictures of England, you became a “brother” to me. In meeting life’s challenges, you became a dear friend, a support for my girls and myself when I lost the love of my life. The surprise calls and visits to let me know you cared- the call on my cell in Rome last August… I will keep you, always, in my heart and in my soul. Carol
Richie and I worked together at Chappy FX in the early 1990’s. We sat next to each other for about three years and often would play cards together when it was slow. I usually got the best of him which annoyed him to no end. We also played a lot of golf as well, with him getting the best of me. We often argued at work but at the end of the day we would always be laughing which I will remember the most. He was a good person with a lot of charisma. We used to make him do his old cruise director announcements when we all needed a laugh. I am sure he is looking down on us today with a smile on his face. My nickname for him was Cliff Clavin because he always had an answer for everything. Rest in peace Richie.
I really miss those early morning phone calls. I don’t know why they would startle me. The phone would ring and then Chris or I would yell out, before answering, “It’s Richard!”. Expecting the unexpected was how life with Richard was for me. I knever knew what would happen when he was around. I remember at our wedding when he jumped up in his tuxedo, and argyle socks, to join the band. He played his harmonica like a professional. I didn’t even know he owned a harmonica. Richard loved his Goddaughter, Christen, and, I think was tickled by Colin. He, for sure, saw a lot of himself in Brian and thoroughly enjoyed the throne on which Brian placed him. He always told me that I was goiing to need help with him…and that he would be there to get me through. Richie, I hope you remember your promise and we always feel like you’re here helping us get through. Thank you for that last surprise visit on September 8th…you were Brian’s best birthday present.
When I remember Richard I think about how funny and happy he was on the few chances I had to be with him. I remember how my husband talked about Richard making him laugh at work. All of our guys will be missed. Georgia you are in my prayers.
Whenever I thought of Richie, I remembered his warm, vulnerable, infectious smile. He gave joy to all those around him. His brother Chris and sister-in-law Mary have attested to that.
The beliefs I formed of Richie’s future twenty-five years ago have been confirmed by the tributes above. He was a true friend, brother, husband, and co-worker. Knowing him was to know love and fun.
Richie, you brought laughs then, but you bring tears now.
In 20 years in this business Richy was one of the most interesting people to wor with.
When he expent some time with me and my family in argentina he always make of this time an special moment, that`s why my kids always ask me about him.
I wish can tell my kids you are going to be here again realy but you always are the uncle richy for them.
You the best man.
Richard lived life to the fullest and he was right. I will always remember his lovely smile. He made me laugh so many times. He was a great entertainer. He was full of energy and loved speed. He loved loud music in his room: his brothers would shout:: “turn it down!” I will always remember his rattling red car. You could not miss him and you knew he was home when he parked his car on the driveway! I also knew when he was around: I still can hear his very own noise: “ hum, hum” he used to make. He had a brilliant spirit and he had a special way of caring about people. He lived to a full at “high speed”.
I wish you and your family to find the strength to live life with happiness as he always did. I want you to know that Richard will be always remembered and will be in my prayers for ever.
I found out about Richard on Saturday, the 15th of September 2001, 4 days after the tragic day. Since then I wanted to share his family’s and friends’ pain. I also put up a tribute website honoring his memory. Richard, during his life, made friends around the world and he was a person, friendly and caring, as his people say. Richard still makes friends: people who never met him stop at the site and read about him.
God bless Richard. We will never forget him.
It is difficult for me to believe that it has been six years since I was last blest with your physical presence. In my mind you always have a smile on your face, which comforts me and reminds me of your positive attitude and desire to live each day to the fullest. These are characteristics that I try to emulate in my day to day life. September 11th 2001, is a day that the world will never forget. However, for Aunt Georgia, your family, all your friends, and me, it is a day that pieces of our hearts were broken. We will never get these pieces back, because they now all belong to you. Not a day goes by that I do not think of you. You have influenced my life both while you were alive and now while you are my guardian angel. Love you and miss you.
It has been years since that day but I still think what you would have done when I have a problem. It is especially tough on those Memorial Day weekends because you and Georgia would join Linda and I for a weekend at St. Michael’s in Maryland. You knew I was a terrible golfer but never expressed an ounce of frustration or criticism. For me, your humility was wonderous, your comedy priceless. The last time we golfed together we talked about a higher power that you thought had eluded you. Richie, you were wrong – the lives you enriched by your life are the sign of that higher power. Rest now, by dear buddy. Tom
Yo Ritchie C! I think of you so often throughout the years. Your name always seems to pop up every time the 911 topic comes up. My old friend, you made so many people laugh on the ships and I remember the time it was formal night and the dress code was jacket & tie. When I let you host the show that evening, you came out with JUST a jacket & tie! You were really a funny person. May you bring such laughter to the stars above and may these past years bring some peace of mind to all that were scared by your loss. You truly were a great friend and had a heart of gold. Continue in peaceful rest.
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