"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 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, Richard'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, Richard 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 he perished in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
During his years on Wall Street, Richard 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 Richard 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, Richard 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, Richard 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 Richard'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." Richard 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."