By David Aaro

If you could pick two words that best encompass Lynn Cuda, they would be family and community. Lynn and her husband Kevin Cuda have lived in Mandarin since 1986. Before that they lived in San Marco briefly in the 1970s. She is originally from upstate New York; however, after spending most of her life in Jacksonville, she considers it home. Cuda has two sons and two grandchildren.

1) What do you like most about Jacksonville?

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In Jacksonville I love the weather, location, sports teams and people. The weather is certainly better than the cold in upstate New York. There is also a lot to do outdoors all year round. The location is just great with the river and the beach, and I also enjoy the proximity to St. Augustine and all its history. The people in Jacksonville are also very warm and friendly. Everyone in our family is a big sports fan. We’ve been Jaguar and Gator season ticket holders for years and both of our children went to get their undergrad at the University of Florida.

2) What makes Mandarin special?

What makes Mandarin special are the people who live here and the sense of community within Mandarin. There is also beauty in the area’s natural history. The famous oak trees in Mandarin are visually grand and beautiful. They are roughly 100 years old and striking to look at, especially when Mandarin Rd. loops around the river. It’s Jacksonville’s version of the Redwood Forest in California.

3) What keeps you busy?

What mainly keeps me busy are my family, community and travel. Watching my grandkids is both rewarding and a full time job. I also write for the 268 homes within the Ramsgate subdivision in Mandarin, doing their online newsletter. Our family also loves to travel and go on cruises. Our grandkids especially love it when we go to Disney World. My New Year’s resolution is to go someplace new this year. I’ve always wanted to go somewhere unique and different, so Panama City and more specifically the canal are on our radar.

4) What’s it like being a part of the Mandarin Community Club?

It’s great! We’ve been members since 1986 and it’s rewarding to see how it keeps the community together and preserves some of its historic sites. I’ve been on the board for the club in the past and have helped with both membership and various duties at the annual Mandarin Art Festival. The Mandarin Art Festival helps to preserve historical sites in Mandarin and incredibly this is the 48th year. It’s great because everyone comes from all over and you get to see people you haven’t seen all year. We get over 6,000 people over two days with over 100 local and national artists.

5) What’s something readers might not know about you?

People might not know I’m a registered nurse, because I haven’t worked in a while. We also have a very medically related family. My husband works at UF Shands in radiology, my older son works as a doctor at Baptist and my younger son is a pharmacist at Johns Hopkins. Now that I think of it, my daughter-in-law and mother have also worked in the medical field.

Photo courtesy Lynn Cuda

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