Randy Tucker Jr.
Stanley Randolph Tucker Jr., beloved educator, administrator and community leader, died on Monday, April 21, 2014, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Randy Tucker was born on Dec. 3, 1944, in Jacksonville, Fla., to Adelaide Candler Tucker and Stanley Randolph Tucker Sr. Randy was a true lover of the sea. A fearless pusher of boundaries from an early age, the renowned educator often skipped his high school classes to surf, ever hopeful of catching the perfect wave. His passion for surfing garnered some of the earliest of his many laurels as he was inducted into the Jacksonville Surfers Hall of Fame and was the first East Coast surfer to be featured in Surfer Magazine. Randy was ordered to report for duty in the Vietnam War on Dec. 25, 1968, but familial love impacted his refusal to leave for war on Christmas Day. So sure it would be his last Christmas, Randy went AWOL, but shortly thereafter, sold every possession and gave the money to his mother. He went down to the sea and surfed the entire night before reporting for duty. This gave the peace and resolve that, though he was not in agreement with war's principles, he would indeed serve the country he loved. Personally selected as the bodyguard of Col. James Couch, Randy spent time in Vietnam traveling between battlefields and medical tents. Despite the horrors he witnessed, his life was positively influenced by the heroic posture of his superior, a man he came to regard as a model of character and leadership. Tucker left Vietnam a decorated veteran. The quintessential traits of the patriot informed the leader he came to be. Upon discharge, in fact, the day following Tuckers return to American soil, he began the first assignment of a 45 year educational career at The Bolles School of Jacksonville. His vitality and imposing presence evoked great affection for the young teacher and coach. While there Randy rose to the distinction of Associate Headmaster. Randy received a BA degree in History and Psychology from Jacksonville University. While pursuing a masters of education and administration degree at the University of North Florida, Randy met his future wife, Terri Bachara. Since she was only 19 years old at the time, Randy Tucker, a true gentleman, waited until he felt it was appropriate to invite her for a proper date. This chivalry quickly earned him the respect and devotion of Terris family. An extraordinary love flourished that would find them nearly inseparable for the rest of their days together. In their 37 years of marriage, Randy and Terri enjoyed family travel, golf, and the Atlanta Braves, but Randy Tucker was best and happiest when he was with his children, those he mentored and his own precious family. He delighted in the familys annual pilgrimages back to the ocean he loved. On these holidays, shared with close family friends, his tireless runs into the surf with children on his back earned him the title of "The Pack Horse", the accolade he loved and valued more than any of the countless others he received throughout a long and distinguished career. In 1987, Randy, Terri and children, Trey and Taylor, left Florida for Chattanooga, where Randy began a 26 year career as Headmaster of Girls Preparatory School. Tuckers career at GPS stoked vast growth and innovative changes to the campus, culture and curriculum of the school. But it was the lives of his students that mattered most to him. And to a tucked and ribboned girl, each one knew how much he cared. Throughout decades in education, the man who once pushed boundaries and entered battle with deep resolve became champion of the down-trodden and the tender man of the second chance to sometimes wayward youth. With conviction he raised up and fought for the child who truly desired an education. A hallmark of his leadership was the gift of gentle sternness. To those weakened by life's circumstances, he tried to offer help. In the case of stronger students, he capitalized and pushed upon their good fortune bolstering them to their true refinement. His daughter Taylor said "he wanted to raise up good citizens who would make a positive difference in the world." He prepared his students for the future, both inside the academic realm and in the world that awaited them. He modeled the belief that ones character can best be seen in responses to difficult situations. The one, grieved now, showed those who looked to him, how to face the tragedies of life as it would come to them. When former students lost their own fathers, they often contacted Randy with expressions of gratitude for the way he embraced their loss and stepped in to provide the strength they desperately missed and needed. More paramount than his role as teacher, coach and headmaster, Randy Tucker hoped to be for his students a model of what it is to be a man of faith, a husband, a father. And he was exemplary in his fulfillment of that mission. So convicted and devoted, Randy was unable to truly leave education behind, so upon retirement at GPS, Tucker accepted an interim headmaster position at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tenn., where he served until his death. As his son Trey said, "he truly loved every moment of what he did." Randy Tucker is survived by his wife of 37 years, Terri Bachara Tucker; son, Stanley Randolph "Trey" Tucker III; and daughter, Taylor Elaine Tucker (Scott Massey, Fiance'); sisters, Nancy (Jack) Blaney, Middleburg, Fla. and Barbara (Jim) Kroeplin, Murphy, N.C. He was a leader at St. Pauls Episcopal Church, West 7th and Pine Street, where services will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24. Please use street parking and parking garages nearby. A visitation will be at Girls Preparatory School from 5-8 p.m. today, April 23. In lieu of flowers, donations made be made to the Randy Tucker Memorial Scholarship Fund, in care of Girls Preparatory School. Burial will be in Chattanooga National Cemetery at a later date with Military honors. Visit www.heritagefh.com to share words of comfort to the family. Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral home, East Brainerd Road.