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Memories & Candles

“Barbara, Commander Tucker was one of a kind, he was a gentleman and always knew what to say to make you feel better. Our chats always left me with...Read More »
1 of 2 | Posted by: Betty Nicholson - Palm Beach, FL

“Barbara, David and I send our heartfelt wishes to you. Dick was such a force, always something funny to say and a complement to give and oh those...Read More »
2 of 2 | Posted by: Debby Hitch Hopkins - MI


Richard Tucker, retired owner and President of Richard Tucker and Company, packaging specialists, died August 22, 2009 of natural causes. He was 87 years of age. He was a child of the "Greatest Generation". Born in Schenectady, NY on January 24, 1922, the son of the late Helen and Walter Tucker, he moved to Detroit with his family at an early age and was raised here. For the last 37 years he was a resident of Bloomfield Hills. He graduated from Northwestern High School in 1939 where he was all-city badminton champion. He then attended Wayne University in the evening while working as Director of Purchasing for the well known paper and packaging firm of Beecher, Peck and Lewis. At the outbreak of WWII, Mr. Tucker quickly volunteered to serve in the Navy Air Corps where he continued his training and education at Ohio Wesleyan University and St. Mary's in California. He won his wings and his commission as Ensign at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1942. He then served the war effort as a naval pilot until the war ended, spending 2 years in the Pacific Theatre defeating the Japanese. He was one of the original "Top Guns" and often said that taking off and landing from an aircraft carrier was not for the faint of heart. One of the aircraft carriers on which he served was the Intrepid, now a military museum in the harbor of New York. At the end of the war, Mr. Tucker held the rank of Lt. Commander and had earned several medals for his dedicated service: the Air Medal with one bronze star; the Philippines Liberation Medal; the Asiatic Pacific Theatre Medal; American Theatre Medal and the WWII Victory Medal. After military service, Mr. Tucker stopped flying any and all airplanes, except for commercial travel as part of his business or on vacations. Periodically, for memory's sake, he would fly an open-cockpit bi-wing Navy training plane named the Stearman (or the "Yellow Peril") over the plains of Texas. Those flights he flew with an instructor at his side. He never lost his love for the Navy, the military or the United States. He was a true patriot and a supporter of many military and veterans organizations. For over 60 years he was a constant supporter of groups like the American Legion, the National Federation of the Blind, the Navy Memorial, the Women's War Memorial and the Paralyzed Veterans, to name a few. Mr. Tucker, very handsome and dapper, had an opportunity to know many movie stars on his tour of duty on the west coast, Hawaii, and the Pacific Theatre. He was often mistaken for Clark Gable. He met and knew Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Greer Garson, Joan Crawford, Carol Landis and many others who were either in the Navy or support organizations. But, it was his good friend and naval officer Robert Taylor who was instrumental in having him take a screen test at RKO Studios with an eye toward pursuing a screen career when the war ended. He never took the challenge however, saying " I'm just not an actor". At war's end, he then returned to Detroit to build a successful business career of over 50 years. His first business venture was in a partner ship with Paul Large and then a third partner, Joseph Bellardi joined the firm known as Tucker, Large and Bellardi. Finally he broke away and formed Richard Tucker and Company, whose major account was the Frito-Lay Corporation in Dallas. His supplier was the Bagcraft Corporation of America in Chicago and over time he was one of Frito-Lays' major suppliers of packaging material in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada and Hawaii. Mr. Tucker was an example of sartorial elegance, and he and his wife Barbara were regulars on the charity circuit for more than 50 years. In addition to the many veterans groups he supported he also supported the DIA, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, The Cranbrook Museum, and the Republican Party, both state and national. He and his wife often entertained celebrities in their Bloomfield Hills home, composer Morton Gould; Maestro Eric Leinsdorf; singer Ethel Merman; pianist Roger Williams; Cy Coleman; dancer Robert Joffrey and designer Bliss Blass. The famous Metropolitan Star Richard Tucker and he became very close friends due to the coincidence of sharing the same name. They saw each other here and in New York and played many games trying to have people guess "who is the real Richard Tucker". Richard and Barbara enjoyed traveling to Europe, the Orient, Mexico and the Islands. He was a senior member of the DAC for over 40 years, having resigned his membership last year. He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Barbara and his beloved daughter Pamela Tucker Blakley (K. Girard). Family will receive friends at A. J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home, 32515 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak, Thursday, Sept. 3rd 10am until prayer service at 12 noon. Memorial tributes to the National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson St., Baltimore, MD 21230

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