LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Barney Alden Tucker, 98, died Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at Richland Health Center, Nashville, Tenn.
Mr. Tucker had lived valiantly with Alzheimer’s disease for many years, but he never lost his courtesy, wit, charm, good looks, or boundless generosity.
He was born Oct. 15, 1915 in Baileyton, Tenn., to Mattie (Ottinger) and Gilbert Bruce Tucker. At 17, he attended the old State Teachers College in Johnson City, Tenn., then taught in a one-room school. He then earned a degree in agricultural science from the University of Tennessee, where he was member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
His first job was as a salesman for Dean-Planters Tobacco Warehouses in Lexington, Ky., where he met his future wife, Shirley June Keplar. His career was interrupted by World War II when he enlisted in the Army Officers Candidate School, serving in the Pacific. He was awarded a Bronze Star, and attained the rank of Lt. Colonel. He served in the Army Reserves, and was called back to active duty during the Berlin Crisis.
After the war, the Tuckers moved to London, where he established Dean-Planters, as well as the Knoxville Fertilizer Company, which later became Agrico, then the Burley-Belt Fertilizer Company. Mr. Tucker also supervised his 100-acre beef and tobacco farm, “Shady Acres.”
When Burley-Belt was acquired by Cargill Industries, the Tuckers moved to Lexington, where he served as executive vice-president.
Mr. Tucker served as president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, president of the Kentucky Council on Higher Education, chairman of the Tobacco Institute, and chairman of the Kentucky State University Admissions Committee. He was a member of the Cincinnati Federal Reserve Board, the University of Kentucky Medical School Admission Board, and many other charitable and philanthropic organizations. He was an ordained Baptist deacon, a Mason, and a die-hard fan of the University of Tennessee football team. He enjoyed golf, but his favorite pastime was going back to his home place on Horton Highway in Baileyton, Tenn., driving the big green tractor over the family dairy farm, and rocking on the same porch where he grew up.