Francis Oliver (“Frank”) Cuffe passed away on March 5, 2023, surrounded by family members following a stroke. He was 91 years old. He is survived by his brother Paul Cuffe (Jane), his sister Virginia Balestier, his children Diane Blizzard (Keith), Steven Cuffe (Babette), David Cuffe (Rachel) and Peter Cuffe (Laurie), his nine grandchildren Katherine Piskai, John Blizzard, E. Paul Cuffe, B. Ivey Cuffe, Stephen Cuffe, Dana Cuffe, Trevor Cuffe, Caroline Stewart, and Jacob Cuffe, as well as six great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Lois Ann Cuffe (nee Balestier).
Frank was born on May 7, 1931, in Hackensack, New Jersey to Charles Daniel Cuffe and Virginia Genevieve Cuffe (nee Oliver). His father was an executive with Worcester Salt Company and his mother a homemaker, and the couple and their three children lived for many years on Overlook Avenue in Hackensack. Frank’s family was Irish on both sides. His grandfather Edmund Cuffe and his grandmother Winifred O’Rourke were each born in Ireland but met and married in the U.S. and settled in New Jersey. His maternal grandparents were Frank and Virginia Oliver (nee Leonard). The Oliver family ran a business (Oliver Bros. Inc.) as agents for the sale of French Limoges porcelain in the U.S.
In addition to his brother Paul and sister Ginny, Frank was close to his extended family growing up, particularly his Uncle Frank Oliver (who was active in the Sierra Club) and Aunt Hedwig and their children Peter, Paul, and Jean, and his Uncle Jerry Oliver and cousin Greg. He also kept in touch through the years with his Cuffe cousins Father Edwin D. Cuffe, Evelyn Cuffe Van Giesen (Paul) and Sister M. Grace John.
Frank met his future wife Lois Balestier as a teenager when Lois’s parents bought their home from Frank’s beloved Nana (Virginia Oliver). Frank attended Englewood School for Boys, a preparatory school, and graduated from Villanova University in 1953. He married Lois shortly thereafter, on June 12, 1953. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy in the fall of 1953 and served at the U.S. naval base in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, for two years, during which time Lois and Frank’s first child, Diane Virginia, was born.
Upon his return to the U.S. in the fall of 1955, Frank began his long career in the packaging industry, first with Continental Can Company and later with Stone Container. Lois and Frank bought a house in Waldwick, New Jersey, and welcomed three more children, Steven Paul, David Elliot, and Peter Daniel.
Beginning in 1968, the family made a series of moves as Frank advanced in his career (from salesman to plant manager) with Continental Can, first to Buffalo for three years, then Syracuse for two years, and then Columbus, Ohio for four years. In 1976, the family moved to Detroit, Michigan, and Frank began a long stint with Stone Container eventually retiring in 1994. Frank and Lois carefully planned their retirement years, settling at the Carolina Trace golf community in Sanford, North Carolina, and building their dream house. So began many happy years filled with friends, golf, and travel. During his time in North Carolina, Frank was a dedicated volunteer with Meals on Wheels, delivering meals to senior citizens.
Frank and Lois loved sports, and attended practically every one of their sons’ games and matches. Their son Steve was a three-sport varsity athlete, and sons Dave and Pete were accomplished wrestlers, each advancing to the state championships. Every summer while the children were growing up, the family went to the beach for two weeks in Barnegat Light, New Jersey, even after the moves around the country. Frank was an expert body surfer and taught his children and grandchildren to master the waves and respect the ocean.
A service commemorating Frank’s life will be held at 1:30 pm on Monday, March 20, 2023, at the Margaret Rose Chapel, Cypress Village, Jacksonville. In lieu of flowers, consider a small donation in Frank’s name to Meals on Wheels at www.give.mealsonwheelsamerica.org or Catholic Charities of Jacksonville www.ccbjax.org.