SSS member Steven Christopher Cucci, 80, passed away peacefully, Oct. 2, 2015, in the company of his family. Steve was born Aug. 15, 1935, in Jersey City, N.J., to Albert Joseph Cucci and Anna Mae Costello Cucci. He graduated from Point Pleasant High School in Point Pleasant, N.J., and earned a journalism degree from Rutgers University. He entered the Air Force in August 1956. After flight training in Laredo, Steve spent two years at Itazuke Air Base in Japan. His next assignment was Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he met and married Martha Ann Whetstone. In June 1964, Steve was given the Tactical Air Command Pilot of Distinction award for his skill in handling an in-flight emergency while operating an F-100 and was named “Best in TAC.” Although Steve flew many types of aircraft until his honorable discharge as a captain in 1965, he maintained a special affinity for the F-100, which was the Air Force’s first supersonic fighter jet. Steve joined American Airlines following his Air Force career and operated 707s, 727s and MD-11s for 30 years until his retirement in 1995, by which time he had served many years as a captain and check pilot.
Steve was a talented writer and a great wit. If he had written his own obituary, you would be laughing right now! Friends and family were fascinated by tales of his upbringing in New Jersey. Steve also had a pleasant singing voice and would spontaneously burst into song, oftentimes a Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole number. Steve enjoyed golf and biking. Highlights included visits to the Masters and a bicycle trip along Highway 1 from San Diego to San Francisco. He participated in road races in which he ran “half fast” and loved his many terrier dogs who, as great judges of character, loved him back. They stayed constantly by his side, unless the Dallas Cowboys fell behind at which time they wandered off to quieter areas. Steve cherished his many friends with whom he and Martha enjoyed numerous vacation trips and social occasions.
Most of all, Steve was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. Godspeed, dear Steve! Survivors: His wife of 54 years, Martha Whetstone Cucci; daughter, Melissa Baginski and husband, Steven Baginski, of Ridgewood, N.J.; daughter, Gina Lacy and husband, Jeff Lacy, of Colleyville; and grandchildren, Christopher Lacy, Lauren Lacy, William Baginski, Paul Baginski and Timothy Baginski.