This post has been updated.
John “ Jack” Cuneo Jr., former Tewksbury Deputy Chief and Acting Fire Chief, passed away on April 5, 2022. Fellow former Tewksbury firefighter Ed Kearns called Cuneo “one of the unsung heroes of the 1972 gas company explosion.”
Tewksbury recently commemorated that event on its 40-year anniversary. Cuneo also served his country and community as a member of the Marine Corps in the Korean War.
Here is the full obituary from Farmer & Dee..
CHATHAM: John C. Cuneo, Jr. age 88, of West Dennis, a former longtime resident of Tewksbury, died peacefully in North Chatham on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
He was the beloved husband of Sonja (Kartuz) Cuneo, who passed away on January 24, 2018, and father of the late Michael J. Cuneo, who passed away on June 25, 2005.
Born in Winthrop on December 7, 1933, he was the son of the late John C. Cuneo and the late Alice (Sanger) Cuneo.
John, known by family and friends as “Jack”, was raised in Tewksbury, attended Tewksbury schools, and graduated from Tewksbury High School.
John’s passion for firefighting started at the age of 15 when he served as a member of the former Tewksbury Volunteer Fire Department alongside his father and brother who also served as volunteer firefighters.
In 1953, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served during the Korean War. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal for his active-duty service.
After his service in the Korean War, John was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, where he also served in the Volunteer Fire Department in nearby Fallbrook, California.
Following his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, John returned to his beloved Town of Tewksbury, becoming a member of the Tewksbury Fire Department.
John’s long career as a Tewksbury firefighter included a promotion to Captain, and prior to his retirement, he served as Deputy Chief of the Tewksbury Fire Department. During his career, John was on duty during the 1972 Lowell Gas Company explosion which took the lives of two of his fellow firefighters and injured dozens of others.
In the late 1970’s, John and his late wife founded and operated the former Sonjon Associates Real Estate Company of Tewksbury until they retired from real estate in 1988.
After John’s retirement, he and his late wife moved to West Dennis, MA in 1989, where they founded a firefighters memorabilia/gift shop known as The Fire Bell.
Being an avid collector of fire memorabilia himself, John obtained much pleasure in meeting other firefighters with the same interest in fire collecting and became an active member of the West Dennis community over the past 33 years.
John was also a diehard New England Patriots fan and never shied away from a healthy discussion of politics.
He is survived by his daughter, Heather D. Burns and her husband Jim, of Tewksbury: three grandchildren, Cassia, Jaime, and Chloe Burns, of Tewksbury. John was the brother of Cathy Turpin and her husband Dwayne, of Maine, and the late Frank Cuneo.
Family and friends are invited to a casual Celebration of his Life to be held on Saturday, April 23, 2022, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Mount Horeb Masonic Lodge located at 242 Old Bass River Road in South Dennis, MA. Kindly Omit Flowers. Donations honoring his memory may be made to The Hundred Club of Massachusetts at 25 Braintree Hill Office Park, Suite 200, Braintree, MA 02184. The Hundred Club provides benefits to the surviving families of Massachusetts firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Robitaille.