Paul Henry Vuona

March 15, 1945 ~ May 8, 2020 (age 75)


Paul Henry Vuona, age 75, of Westerly, RI passed away Friday, May 8, 2020 after a long battle with cancer. There are no words to express the man that Paul was, but we can try our best.

Paul, a Worcester, MA native, was born on March 15, 1945 to second-generation Italians, the late Sophie T. and Henry G. Vuona. Paul’s love for music and the piano began at an early age. He entertained family and friends that gathered around the piano in his parents living room.

Paul graduated from North High School in Worcester and then attended Worcester Junior College where he graduated with a civil engineering degree. He then moved on to UMASS Amherst, but found himself yearning for the sun. From there, he transferred to the University of Miami, where he earned a degree in Fine Art. He didn’t know it yet, but those years in Miami would change his life forever, for that is where he would make lifelong friendships and meet his wife and soulmate, Linda.

Paul returned to Worcester, where he worked for his father at Vuona Brother’s Construction before growing his hair long and forming the legendary local rock band, Zonkaraz. Performing soon became Paul’s full-time gig, and Zonkaraz became a household name in the area, leading to a devoted following that lasts to this day. Hundreds throughout Worcester would gather on weekdays and weekends to dance and lose themselves in Zonkaraz’s music.

Settling down a bit from the rock and roll lifestyle (or as Zonkaraz called it, “tasty rock ‘n’ roll”), Paul and Linda had two sons, Nicholas and Jesse.

Not one to follow the normal path, Paul jumped into the restaurant business in the early 80’s, opening the Firehouse Cafe. Always wanting to be in the center of the action, Paul made sure the Firehouse was a place for both young and old to gather and enjoy a meal together. The Firehouse Cafe was a Worcester fixture for 25 years until Paul’s retirement.

Soon after retiring, Paul and Linda moved to their Westerly, RI vacation home where Paul had spent his childhood summers. Paul lived the “good life,” enjoying Misquamicut’s beautiful beaches by day and Linda’s legendary dinners at night. He soon became a fixture at the beach and was lovingly nicknamed the “Mayor of Misquamicut.”

Paul’s pride and joy was his family, and in recent years, his shining light was his granddaughter, Marigold. During his cancer treatments, Paul would exclaim, “Marigold is the best medicine!” The two of them shared a special bond, marked by their love of music, buttery toast, and laughter.

Always one to look on the bright side of things, Paul often said, “I’m not planning to go, but if something happens, I’ve lived a damn good life.” Unfortunately, in the end, treatments and Marigold Medicine weren't enough.

Paul is survived by his wife Linda Ward Vuona, sons Nicholas Paul Vuona and Jesse Paul Vuona, his daughter-in-law, Sarah Kate Vuona, and granddaughter, Marigold Rey Vuona. He also leaves his beloved brother, Peter H. Vuona, and his many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

The family would like to thank the nurses and doctors at Smilow Cancer Center in Waterford, CT. for their loving care of Paul.

A celebration of life will be planned for later in the summer.

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