Remembering Allen Cuff
July 3, 1953—May 6, 2020
My darling colleague and friend, Allen Cuff, died suddenly May 6 from complications of diabetes. The news of Allen’s death was worse than anything I could imagine. When Salvatore Seeley, our boss at CAMP Rehoboth called me, he said, “I have some sad news Niki, Allen has passed away.”
I did not want to believe this as I said out loud, “Please do not tell me that! Please!” I was shaken to my core and it felt like my heart had fallen out of my chest! The sadness took me over knowing that my sweet and precious Allen, a constant light and source of happiness in my life, would never again be crossing my earthly path. I went home and paced the floors to try to deal with how shaken and emotionally fragile I felt knowing I would never see, laugh with, or talk to Allen again.
Allen was larger than life, a doer of good, a beautiful man whose heart was full of love and compassion for everyone he knew. Allen was a big man, gentle in his ways. I loved how he cared about equality and justice, and the way he listened to what people said. He always answered with the most beautiful responses, full of tenderness and logic. He showed clients he truly understood exactly where they were coming from. You either have this ability or you do not and Allen surely had it.
Allen was one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. The sweetness and laughter in my memories of Allen will be as my right arm. I will lean on them as I try to cope with not having him around anymore.
We worked together over three years, sharing so many things. We called ourselves the Three Musketeers—Allen, me, and Jerry Filbin, providing HIV testing and counseling in Sussex County.
Allen’s niece, Torrie Cuff, called me after he passed and we spoke about Allen, how much we loved him and how shocked we are that he is gone. Allen enjoyed visiting his brother Bruce’s home for Thanksgiving and Christmas in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Allen has another niece, Brittany Cuff who also was close to him.
Allen had the most amazing understanding of how to work an iPhone I have ever seen! He loved movies and music, played trivia on a team in Rehoboth Beach, and had a blast hanging out in the evenings with his buddies like Sharon Kanter and all the rest of them They are all devasted to learn of Allen’s passing.
I remember that Allen and I were at a health fair at a hotel in Rehoboth and we set up our HIV testing table and booth with bowls of things we would give out free to people who inquired about a test. Well, there were quite a lot of older visitors at the Health Fair that day and one lady came up to our table and said to her friend, “Oh, Doris, come over here they are giving out candies!” She asked for some candies and I had to tell her that the brightly colored wrapped items were, in fact, condoms for a male to use for safe sexual practices. This lovely lady looked quite surprised and walked away not knowing just what to say. Allen and I exchanged a priceless glance and I’ll never forget the incident.
I know I speak for all of us at CAMP Rehoboth Community Center when I say that losing Allen as part of our staff will make everything different. Allen Cuff had dignity and integrity. He was a private person in many ways. But when he showed up for work, he always had a smile on his face and you never thought he had a worry in this world.
Allen’s spirit will live inside of me always. GOD REST YOUR SOUL. His body will be taken back to be cremated at DeBaptiste Funeral Home near where his family lives. All condolences can be sent to his brother, Bruce Cuff, at 716 Park Road, Lansdale, Pennsylvania 19946.