Ben Tucker

    - Valenda Newell
  • "He was a great musician."
    - Cindy Calhoun
  • "Mr. Tucker, It was truly my pleasure to hear you and your..."
    - Byron Scott
  • "Gloria, Paul and I just learned the sad news of your loss...."
  • "We have lost a beautiful man. Peace be with you in this..."

In Loving Memory of Ben Tucker Savannah's Diplomat Leaves a Legacy of Music & Service - SAVANNAH - Ben Tucker, legendary jazz musician, community icon, and benevolent spirit had a smile that opened doors and established friendships all over the world. At the age of 82, on June 4, 2013, Ben Tucker was killed when a speeding car hit his golf cart after enjoying a game of golf at his second home, The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Club. Benjamin Mayor Tucker, Ph.D, affectionately known as BT Jazz, made a life-long contribution to the world of jazz. Mr. Tucker has performed and recorded over a 50-year span with various artists, including: Art Blakey, Freddy Cole, Benny Goodman, Earl Fatha Hines, Shirley Horn, B.B. King, Herbie Mann, Marian McPartland, Mel Torme and Peggy Lee to name a few. The multi-talented musician and successful business man was admired by many for his illuminating gift to bring people together regardless of age, ethnicity or belief. One of Ben's proudest accomplishments was a jazz tribute to Nelson Mandela. Ben Tucker's distinguished accomplishments were recognized by leaders in music, business, presidents, leaders throughout the world. Yet, he remained humble and was a very down to earth person. Ben established friendships with his charming smile. Ben Tucker was loved and embraced by the Savannah community where he and his wife Gloria Tucker lived for 42 years. Ben Tucker was born in Brentwood, Tennessee, December 13, 1930, to parents Joseph Sullivan Tucker and Carrie Ann (Claiborne) Tucker. Ben and his first wife were the parents of Sabra (passed 1996) and Wayne Tucker who were raised in Pasadena, California. He served in the Air Force in 1952. He later married Gloria Daly in New York (1966). She was his inspiration for one of the biggest hits in the country, he wrote for Mrs. Tucker, Coming Home Baby. Ben loved Gloria unconditionally based on his Christian belief, which he displayed in all aspects of his life. A successful musician, businessman, and community leader, Ben Tucker has influenced the world of jazz. He learned the fundamentals of music while in high school and entered Tennessee State University as music major. Ben's success as a musician did not go unrecognized. He appeared before the house Sub-Committee on Communications and the Federal Communications Commission with testimony that resulted in changing the economic strata for black entrepreneurs. A leader with a purpose, Mr. Tucker was appointed to the Selective Service Board by President Carter and reappointed by President Reagan. In 1976, Benjamin Mayor Tucker received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities which was conferred upon him from B. F. Lee Theological Seminary. In l979, President Carter appointed Dr. Tucker to the Advisory Committee of the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performance Art. In addition, he served on the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Advisory Board from 1979-1983. He received special recognition from the Kennedy Center's National Committee for the Performing Arts in April of 2013. The City of Savannah has benefitted from his musical talent, knowledge, leadership and charitable skills. Ben became the owner and operator of Hard-Hearted Hannah's, a jazz club, which opened in September 15, 1985 and closed 1993. In 1972, he purchased WSOK radio station in Savannah which became # 1 for 13 years. Mr. Tucker served on numerous boards and committees to use his influence to sustain organizations that benefitted the community. Community engagement was his creed and the synergy he contributed to schools, youth organizations and adult learning, colleges, churches, and community business, was a part of his life's work. Ben was a friend and partner to thousands. Ben's creative development brought him to music and his cognitive development brought him to the game of golf and leadership. He celebrated life through family, friends, music, travel, golf and mentoring, teaching and reaching the youth. A diplomatic leader and a renown champion for equality. B. T. Jazz was a shining example of service to the community. Benjamin Tucker is survived by: his wife GloriaTucker of 47 years, Wayne Tucker (son), Ivan Daly, stepson, Reuben Tucker (twin brother) and his wife Erma; nephews Desmond, David and Derrick; nieces Loretta, and Larae; Edwin Grimsley, grandson; a host of other relatives and grand children. Funeral Arrangements: Mr. Tucker will lie in state Sunday, June 9, 2013 from 2:00 -7:00 p.m. for public viewing at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 120 Bull Street, at Wright Square, Savannah, GA. 31401. Funeral Service - Monday, June 10, 2013, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension. Public Jazz Concert immediately after the service - Monday, June 10, 2013, 1:00- 8:00 p.m. at Ellis Square, Savannah, GA. (Bring the family to celebrate Ben Tucker's Legacy in Savannah, musicians & children welcome to join in this celebration.) In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be held at the Savannah Theater, 222 Bull St. Remembrances: In lieu of flowers the Tucker family requests donations be sent to: The Ben Tucker Family Foundation, c/o The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension, 120 Bull Street, Savannah, GA 31401. Please sign our online guestbook at Savannah Morning News June 9, 2013 Please sign our Obituary Guest Book at
Published in Savannah Morning News from June 8 to June 9, 2013
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