Lt Colonel William J. Cuneo

October 17, 1939 ~ December 23, 2020 (age 81)


Retired Lieutenant Colonel William (Bill) John Cuneo Jr, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, took the hand of his Heavenly Father and entered his eternal home on December 23, 2020, at the University of Maryland hospital, following a brief illness.

He was greeted by Jane, wife of 31 years, his parents William and Mary (Nee) Dohan, his brother Terry, and his son William’s wife, Kim.

Bill was born on October 17, 1939 to William John Cuneo Sr. and Mary Cuneo in South Norwalk, Connecticut. He graduated from Norwalk High School as Class President and Valedictorian in 1957. He subsequently graduated as Class President from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor’s of Physics in 1961.

Following graduation, he enlisted in the Air Force and moved to Ohio where he was stationed at Wright Patterson AFB.  Three years later, he would marry Jane Harrison on April 18, 1964 and have their first son William Jr. The Air Force would move the family from Maryland to California and states in between over the following 11 years, finally landing them back in Maryland in 1975 where they stayed.  During these 11 years, three other sons would be born, Michael, Daniel, and Brian, all in different states. Also, while stationed in Arizona, he earned his Masters in Physics in 1966.

William Cuneo Jr. was a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force where he acted as a Nuclear Research Officer and Scientist Specialist from 1961 to 1983.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, an AF Commendation Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, a Small Arms Expert Marksmanship, the AF Longevity Service Ribbon with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the National Defense Service Medal. During his time in the Air Force, he was employed as a rocket scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he worked on Skylab the Space Shuttle, among other projects.

Lieutenant Colonel William Cuneo Jr. served the United States Air Force for 22 years leading up to an honorable retirement while stationed at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

Bill had a love of mathematics, engineering, astronomy, and all of the sciences.  He never stopped learning and if you ever knew him, you would describe him as one of the smartest people you have ever met.   He loved to tinker and invent things and there was never anything he couldn’t fix.  One of his hobbies was making furniture, including building the family dining table which was used by his ever- growing family for 40 years, as he had the foresight to have it seat 14 people.  Bill was a true pantomath and enjoyed sharing his knowledge of everything to anyone he came across, especially to his four sons, which he saw as his legacy.  It wasn’t out of the ordinary for him to fix a car or replace broken pipes in the house with one of them by his side, or to sit down with them and teach them advanced calculus.  He thought of problems as a wonderful “opportunity to teach” his boys even when he could have simply done it himself, and definitely quicker.

Bill is survived by his four boys; William John Cuneo III, Michael Cuneo and wife Leslie, Daniel Cuneo and wife Freda, and Brian Cuneo and wife Jennifer; as well as grandchildren Taylor Cuneo, Morgan Cuneo, Presley Cuneo, Madigan Cuneo, Iris Cuneo, and Harrison Cuneo, sister Eleanor Underhill, nephew Christopher Underhill and wife Kristjana, niece Alexandra Underhill Seely and husband Luke, and grand-nephews John Paul and William, and grand-nieces Emma, Catherine, Maryanna, and Julia.

He was preceded in death by his wife Jane Anne Cuneo, his parents William and Mary Cuneo, younger brother Terry Cuneo, and daughter-in-law Kim Cuneo.

A private viewing and funeral Mass will be held at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Damascus, MD on January 11. Flowers may be donated to St. Pauls Catholic Church in Damascus.

Interment with Military Honors will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

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