Major General James L. Tuckur, Jr. M.D.
James L. Tucker, Jr. M.D. passed away at the age of 83 after a brief illness with cancer.
Born in Waxahachie, Texas on October 13, 1930, he graduated from Murphy High School in Mobile, Alabama in 1949, and attended his first year of premed at Howard College (now Samford) in Birmingham, Alabama. While working as a laboratory tech at Baptist Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana, he completed his premed studies at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana. He entered Tulane Medical School in 1951 and completed four years of study in 1955.
Dr. Tucker began training in internal medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan in 1955. In 1957 he was drafted into the Air Force and after 2 years of active duty in Abilene, Texas, he returned to Detroit to complete post graduate training. He changed residency training to Ophthalmology and completed a four year residency in that specialty. He was named Alumnus of the Year at both Murphy High School and Louisiana College in the past. Dr. Tucker returned to Abilene, Texas to open his eye practice in 1964. He had an active medical practice in Abilene for almost 30 years.
Following his active status tour in the USAF, Dr. Tucker joined the Air Force Reserves in 1962. He was recalled to active duty during the Cuban missile Crisis. During his service in the Air Force Reserves, Dr. Tucker was promoted to the rank of Major General, and upon his retirement from the Air Force Reserves in 1986, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the military's highest non-combat award for exemplary leadership. Dr. Tucker was a life member of the Reserve Officers Association and a life member of the Air Force Association. He was a past president of the Civil Aviation Medical Association. He served many years as a Senior Medical Examiner for the Federal Aviation Association and as a consultant in Ophthalmology to the Federal Air Surgeon. General Tucker's assignment at the time of his retirement from the USAF in 1987 was Deputy Surgeon General for Reserve Affairs. During his last assignment he served under several Surgeon Generals of the Air Force, including Paul Myers, Max Bralliar, and Murphy Chesney.
Dr. Tucker lost his right hand in 1947 from a home chemistry experiment. Interestingly, the last one armed man promoted to General in the U.S. Military was Philip Kearney in 1847. As a cavalryman in the Mexican War, Kearney lost his left hand. When the Civil war broke out in 1860, Kearney (a Major at the time) was promoted to Brigadier General and was awarded the rank of Major General posthumously, having been killed days before his promotion.
Dr. Tucker's favorite hobby was playing competitive duplicate bridge, and he made many lifelong friends at the bridge table. He attained the rank of Platinum Life Master (more than 10,000 master points).
Dr. Tucker was preceded in death by his twin brother, John Oglesby Tucker of Mobile in 2011, his sister Mary Jo Tucker Young of Bartlesville, Oklahoma in 2009, his sister Martha Jane Tucker in 1946, his son John Neal Tucker, Sr. in 1995, and his grandson Ned Brou, III in 2009.
He is survived by his bride of 59 years, Leah Marjorie Tucker, sons, James L. Tucker III, an anesthesiologist in Phoenix, Arizona, Mark R. Tucker (Martha Garner), an ophthalmologist in Alexander City, Alabama, David M. Tucker, a psychiatrist in Denton, Texas, and 2 daughters, Martha Tucker Ban (Eddie Ban), a psychiatrist in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Anna Margaret Tucker a Registered Nurse in Birmingham, Alabama. His son John Neal Tucker, Sr. who passed away January 3, 1995, was also an anesthesiologist. Other survivors in Dr. Tucker's immediate family include 15 grandchildren, James Lanier Tucker, IV, Lindsay Tucker, John Andrew Tucker, Sr., Mickey Brou, Frank Brou, Jill Marie Ban, Ruth Tucker Ladner, Leah Margaret Tucker, John Neal Tucker, USMC, Mary Rachel Tucker, Benjamin Neal Tucker, Michael Tucker, Nicole Tucker, Hannah Tucker, and Grace Tucker, and 3 great-grandchildren, John Tucker, Jr. (Jack), Aiden Tucker, and Rhae Tucker.
Services will be held at St. James Episcopal Church in Alexander City, Alabama on Wednesday, November 20, 2013. Visitation will be at 1:00 pm and the funeral service at 2:00 pm. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
The family suggests that memorial gifts be made to Children's Harbor, One Children's Highway, Alexander City, 35010 or Scholarship Fund, Louisiana College Nursing School, Pineville, Louisiana.
Memorial messages may be sent to the family at www.radneyfuneralhome.com.
Radney Funeral Home in Alexander City, AL is in charge of the arrangements.
Published in Abilene Reporter-News on Nov. 17, 2013