Guy Allan Cuddihee, Aug. 7, 1959 – Nov. 14, 2019

Guy Allan Cuddihee
Guy Allan Cuddihee

He was described as “A Man for ALL Seasons” and as a “Man for All People.” 

Guy Allan Cuddihee, CEO of Beaches Habitat for Humanity and a man who helped raise millions for local charities, passed away Nov. 14 after a brief illness at the Community Hospice Earl B. Hadlow Center for Caring. He had been diagnosed with glioblastoma in March 2019 and fought the disease bravely with grit and determination.

Described by some as the “unofficial mayor” of Jacksonville, Cuddihee, a San Jose resident, was a bon vivant whose dry wit, gift of storytelling, and infectious laugh could raise the roof. He leaves behind his beloved family members and countless friends who experienced his gracious generosity, enduring friendship, and kind heart. His death comes just four months after he celebrated his 60th birthday at his favorite restaurant, Toscana Little Italy in Miramar on Aug. 4.

Cuddihee was an unmistakably bright light, a man who never met a stranger and always focused on giving to others. He lived his life convinced that the world opened its doors for him just as he opened his heart toward others. He learned early his God-given superpower was the ability to connect with people and connecting people to people for a purpose. He made great use of what God entrusted to him.

“Guy Cuddihee was all about loving, giving, helping and supporting everyone he met. Nothing was too much to ask, if he did not know the answer, he would find it for you,” wrote Trudy Harris, a lifelong friend of 36 years and Hospice nurse to Cuddihee’s father, mother and brother, in the on-line guest book. “The non-profits such as Multiple Sclerosis, Community Hospice, and Special School for children with challenges to name a few he helped to grow, become known and understood, and raised thousands of dollars for their very worthwhile causes. Guy followed in his Savior’s footsteps all his life. Love was the great teacher, and he mirrored those steps without fail for every person he ever met. Guy is someone I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Perhap’s Cuddihee’s most gratifying accomplishment was helping to raise his niece, Sabrina Cuddihee, after the death of his brother, Gil. He was also a father figure to Sabrina’s two sons, Clif and Rudy.

As a teenager, Cuddihee worked at Kay Jewelers at Regency Square Mall for his father, Robert, who was the store manager. He later got a job at the former Furchgott’s Department Store and later at Deerwood Bootery selling shoes to Jacksonville’s most fashionable and well-connected women. It was at this time that he began make a vast network of connections he would later draw upon during his fundraising and professional life.

His career path also included positions with national business development director for Wayne Mello Associates, director of business development for The CSI Companies, vice president of ATS Services, Inc., and managing director and regional manager of MPS Group, now Adecco Group.

In the late 1980s, Cuddihee entered the nonprofit world as a founding member of the young professional group, Esprit de Corps, raising more than $1 million for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and later $1 million more for Hospice Northeast. He said at the time that he recognized the essential thing in life was to give back in time and talent to his community, its people, and its nonprofit organizations, and he gave lavishly.

His numerous volunteer leadership and board member commitments included the Board of Governors and Trustee of JAXUSA; chairman of the board for North Florida School of Special Education; Volunteers in Medicine; Art with a Heart; the Bairfind Foundation; capital campaign leader for Community Hospice; the San Marco Rotary; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; National MS Society; Junior Achievement; Esprit de Corps; Jacksonville Marine Institute; and the Governing Board of Members for Epping Forest Yacht and Country Club.

Cuddihee was a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville in 1996 and received an associate of science degree in Business Administration at Florida State College, Jacksonville in 1979. He also acquired certificates in the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Course and Dimensions of Professional Selling.

He was born in Washington D.C. and moved with his family to Jacksonville in 1963. He attended Beauclerc Elementary, duPont Middle School and Wolfson High School, graduating in the Class of 1977. He also earned the coveted rank of Eagle Scout as a Boy Scout in Troop 184. He was an active member of St. Philip Neri Ecumenical Church.

He was preceded in death by his father, Robert J. Cuddihee, his mother, Dorothy (Dot), and his brother, Gil. He is survived by his niece, Sabrina Cuddihee, and nephews Clif and Rudy as well as his cousin Ann Cuddihee Walls. He also leaves behind his beloved dog, Rocky.

Guy was a “man for all seasons,” a “man of all people,” wrote Dorothy Dorion of Jacksonville in the on-line guest book. “If you ever needed a connection to accomplish anything, he was there. His dedication to doing the right thing for the right reason was unmatched. A grateful thanks to all his family and many friends who pitched in these last months to transport him, bring food, comfort him and hold his hand to the end. We will miss you, Guy, but your spirit lives on in each of us.”

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