James “Jim” D. Tucker, 87, passed away on May 14, 2020 in Jacksonville, FL. following a long journey with Alzheimer’s. He was born on December 11, 1932 in Rose Hill, VA, the son of Ms. Willie Mae Marks Fields and Mr. Ruell Lewis Tucker, Sr.
Jim received his education from Paris Western High School in Paris, KY, Duquesne University of Pittsburgh, and the Harvard post-graduate PMD program. While at Duquesne, he earned All American Honors as well as Black College and Catholic College All American status. He went on to play for the Syracuse Nationals Basketball organization, where in 1955 he was one of the first two African Americans to play on an NBA Championship Team. He was also the proud holder of a 60 year NBA record for the fastest triple-double recorded in the NBA. Following his NBA career he played intermittently with the Harlem Globetrotters, the Harlem Magicians, and the Eastern Basketball League.
In the early 60’s, Jim moved his then young family to St. Paul, MN where he held management positions with the Hallie Q Brown Community Development Agency, Pillsbury and Republic/Northwest/Delta Airlines in Minnesota and Florida until his retirement.
While in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area he had been a Loaned Executive with the United Way and Chairman of the 1982 Camp Confidence Golf Classic, both organizations remained very dear to him.
Jim retired in 1998 in Florida and enjoyed his great friendship with fellow golfers at Eagle Harbor Golf Club in Fleming Island, and his close knit JLF Golf group. He loved his dog Chakka, and every neighbor in his community knew him by his friendly wave while walking Chakka every day. He was active in the Upward Basketball organization through Orange Park United Methodist Church where he loved watching and mentoring many young players.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Ms. Willie Mae Marks Fields; his father, Ruell Lewis Tucker, Sr.; his step-father, Edward “Snow” Fields; his sister, Rev. Edyth Walton Baker and his brother, Ruell Lewis Tucker, Jr.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 35 years, Jan Studer Tucker; his children, James D. “Jay” Tucker II (Catherine) of Pahoa, HI, Barbara Jo Snow (Bernard) of Cumming, GA, Jon M. Tucker (Joy) of Hugo, MN, Erin E. LaBore (LaTricia LaShone Clay) of Apple Valley, MN, Christopher Adams (Vivian) of Gallup, NM and Beth Pfeiffer Burns (Brian) of Glenview, IL; grandchildren, Carmen, Jaymie and Bernie Snow, Jade and Jordan Tucker and Sydney Burns; special nieces, Angela Tucker Gee and Teresa Tucker Johnson, in addition to many nephews, nieces, cousins and wonderful friends.
Jim was loved by all and lived by his mother's motto: "Never walk into someone's life and not leave a memory, a good thing that you have done or said to that person." In 2019, "Let 'Em Know You're There" a documentary on Jim's life both in and out of basketball and his journey with Alzheimer’s was produced by Readily Apparent Media and was awarded an Emmy for developing a poignant story of such an extraordinary man. He unselfishly made the decision to further research towards the cure for Alzheimer's Disease by donating his brain to the Brain Bank of Mayo Clinic.
Aaron and Burney Bivens Funeral Home, 529 Kingsley Avenue, Orange Park, FL 32073, (904) 264-1233, is serving the family.
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