Thomas Philip Cuffari
T/5 in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co C
Born 1922 in NJ, Died 2013
County of residence at enlistment: Essex County, NJ
Other residence(s): Nutley, NJ; Montclair, NJ in 1998; Bloomfield, NJ in 2002; Pompton Plains in 2008
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: commercial artists
College education before the war: 2 years
Tom Cuffari was born in Newark, New Jersey on February 12, 1922. Both of his parents were born in Italy. He was the youngest of four children and the first to graduate from high school. He graduated from East Orange (NJ) High School in 1939 where his high school ambition was "to become a leading commercial artist."
He attended college for two years, according to his enlistment record, and was working as a commercial artist when he enlisted on October 6, 1942.
While stationed in Europe with the Ghost Army, he met and fell in love with a young woman from Luxembourg, Nelly Suzette Peschong. GA veteran John Jarvie writes that "I was in the Army with him, and I was present when Nelly and Tom met at her home in Luxembourg." They married on February 22, 1946 at the Luxembourg City Hall, where US Vice-Consul J. Tuck Sherman served as witness.
After returning to the U.S., Tom and Nelly settled back in East Orange, later moving to Nutley, New Jersey where they lived for 51 years and raised three children.
In 1953, Tom and his partner established Josephson, Cuffari, and Co., an advertising and PR firm based in Montclair, New Jersey, in a one-room office with two accounts. By 1961 they had moved the company into a brand new office building in Montclair. By 1968, they were acclaimed as one of the largest and fastest growing advertising and PR agencies in New Jersey, and in 1974, still expanding, they moved to their own building. Throughout this period they acquired many new clients, both in New Jersey and throughout the US, in a variety of industries, and won several awards for their work from the Jersey Shore PR and Advertising Association.
Tom remained chairman and CEO of the company (eventually renamed Cuffari and Co.) after his son, Jack, and a colleague took over as managing partners in 1989. He retired in 1998 at the age of 76.
After 51 years in Nutley, Tom and Nelly moved to Bloomfield in the early 2000s, and Tom became a Trustee of Montclair Shared Housing Association, founders, owners, and operators of The Montclair Inn, an affordable home for single seniors. Marcy Sullivan wrote: "Tom contributed so much to the success of The Montclair Inn while serving on the Board of Directors of Montclair Shared Housing Association. He was a superb mentor and became a dear friend."
Tom continued to paint in oil and watercolor; an exhibit of his paintings took place in 2005 in Montclair.
In 2008 they moved to Pompton Plains. Tom died on June 18, 2013, and was buried at Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Upper Montclair. Nelly lived to be 101 years old; she died in January 2024.
1939 High School Yearbook
1942 Draft Card
1942 Enlistment Record
1946 Marriage Record
1961 article in Montclair Times re his business
1974 article in The Herald-News (Passaic NJ) describing company's move
1998 article in Montclair Times re the company
2004 article in The Record (Hackensack NJ) about another veteran of the GA; quotes Cuffari and offers extensive GA background
2005 article in Bloomfield Life about his painting and his retirement
2013 Find a Grave Record (includes obituary)
2013 Obituary (with comments from people who knew Tom)