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.
Mr. Tucker is survived by his elder daughter, Alice-Anne Tucker Birch (Tony), Bethesda, Md.; his grandchildren, Alexandra Birch Rose (Jim) of Natick, Mass., and Tucker Birch, Mount Pleasant, S.C.; his son-in-law Scott Nieboer and grandson, Case Nieboer, Nashville, Tenn; and great-grandchildren, Annabelle and Sam Rose. He is also survived by his sister, Nell Tucker Abernethy, Burlington, N.C., as well as many devoted nieces and nephews from both the Tucker and Keplar families.
Mr. Tucker was predeceased by his beloved wife Shirley, his adored younger daughter Alden Tucker Nieboer, and siblings, William and Dale Tucker, Baileyton, Tenn.,, and Josephine Tucker Neal, Forest City, N.C.
A luncheon and visitation was at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Baileyton Baptist Church, with church services at 2 p.m., followed by interment at Price’s Cemetery. He was buried with military honors and a 21-gun salute by the Greene County Honor Guard.
The services was officiated by the Reverend James Roberts, with arrangements by Jeffers Mortuary.
Pallbearers were Scott Nieboer, Case Nieboer, Tony Birch, Tucker Birch, Robert Tucker and Dale “Bud” Tucker.
Memorial gifts may be made to Price’s Cemetery, c/o Treasurer, Phil Harter, 150 Grandview Lane, Bulls Gap, Tenn., 37711 or to the charity of your choice.
Barney Tucker spent a lifetime “giving back.”