I want to share with you some memories of Marguerite Aldine Barnhill Tucker, a great woman and my mother. I would like to start by sharing some thoughts from a book. These thoughts accurately define my mother, my father and their generation.
The book is called "The Greatest Generation", by Tom Brokaw
According to Tom Brokaw, characteristics of the greatest generation the world has ever known are:
They came of age during the great depression.
They answered the call to save the world from two most powerful, ruthless and evil military machines ever assembled. They fought and many died on hostile lands far removed from their homelands. Women left their homes, filled schools, factories and the workforce to fuel the war machines.
After the war they immediately began the tasks of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted. They were mature beyond their years through both the discipline of their military service and their many sacrifices made in the war effort. The “new woman” gave up the chance to stay at home with their families and entered the workforce.
They married in record numbers and had families.
They devoted their lives to their families and to creating the changed world they fought for and dreamed of.
They were true to the their values: personal & moral responsibility, duty, honor, and faith.
Their members include such notables : John F Kennedy, Daniel Inouye (Ih-NO-ay), Joe Foss, Richard Winters, Charles Schultz, Rosa Parks and Billy Graham.
There is another defining name that is appropriate for Mom and that is “Steel Magnolia”. According to one internet site, Steel Magnolias are know for their beauty, grace and charm as well as their resourcefulness and inner strength. Mom has personified all of these characteristics to many of us.
Some history of Aldine Tucker, a Steel Magnolia and a member of the greatest generation in the history of mankind.
Born November 3, 1920 in Stokes, NC the second child of James B Barnhill and Nolie James Barnhill
Sister to Pearlie Ward (Overton) and James DeWitt and Otha Allen Barnhill
She grew up and lived her younger years on the Pactolas, NC farm of her parents
Education, the pioneering Aldine really begins here:
Graduated from Rose Hill High School 1938
BA Business, East Carolina Teachers College (East Carolina University) in 1942
MA Business, East Carolina Teachers College (East Carolina University) in 1947 – a time when few people went to college, and almost NO women graduated from college – she was a pioneer, a trailblazer
Mom's family, marriage, kids, grands, greats:
Married Richard Edward Tucker, August 14, 1948 in Greenville, NC and moved to Minneola, KS to make her new family.
A daughter, Linda, was born 8/19/49. She went on to graduate from college and has her own family,
A son, Neil, was born 9/5/50. He graduated from college and has his family,
A daughter Patricia, was born 11/4/51. She graduated from college and has her family,
She moved with her family from Kansas to a better life in Champaign, Illinois in 1961
The birth of granddaughter Libby, May 9, 1980 gave her great joy,
The birth of grandson Brien, November 29, 1982 gave her great joy,
A great granddaughter Jasmine born November 2, 2006 and brought her great joy,
The marriage of Brien Duncan and Jen Crockett May 10, 2008,
A great grandson Tucker born April 27, 2009 and brought her great joy,
There are an incredible number of family activities and events too numerous to list, and, there are many other important dates that I have omitted here.
Mom's working career:
Mom taught returning WWII GI's business classes at Georgia State Teachers College in Statesboro, GA beginning in 1943,
She taught 3rd and 4th grade at Bloom Elementary School in Bloom, KS in 1959 and 1960,
She taught 7th grade math at JW Eater Jr High in Rantoul, IL from 1961 to 1984 when she retired,
Mom changed the lives of untold hundreds of students with her passion and commitment to teaching them not just math but a commitment to learning.
Life after working:
In 1984 Mom and Dad moved from the long time home they built together in Rantoul to Lake Sara, Dad's edge of heaven. They spent their years fishing, gardening, worshiping and cherishing their family - especially their grandchildren.
On October 4, 2000 Mom lost her lifelong partner of over 52 years when Dad died suddenly. Mom's grief lasted for several years after the loss of Dad.
In 2001 Mom moved from the lake house to Brookstone Apartments in Effingham.
In 2009 Mom moved to Primrose Retirement Community in Decatur, IL
On March 23, 2010 Mom suffered a massive stroke and died at 5:07 PM on March 30 - about the time Pop would be picking her up for their evening boat ride on the lake....
Mom's faith in God and Jesus Christ saw her through her many trials and tribulations – I represent many of those tribulations! Mom instilled that faith in her children, her grand children.
Her never ending love and commitment to her family and her friends. If any of her children were injured or ill Mom was the first to offer to come and take care of us – even when she was 89 years old!
Mom had a passion for teaching and even later in life expressed an interest in teaching math to her fellow assisted living residents.
Mom was one of the most humble yet assertive people I have known.
Mom was an awesome cook! Who could pass up her fresh rolls, her fried chicken, her deviled eggs, her pickles, her incredible pies and cakes. She shared her love for cooking with all of her children – we all love to cook for our families and friends!
Mom's strength of convictions – once she decided what was right she never wavered.
She completed every task to her standards, nothing but your best is good enough. She never left a task until she was satisfied with results
even to not leaving this earth until she was good and ready
she once stated that she was not going to go quietly from this earth and she would not go until SHE was ready! Well, she stayed true to that assertion to the end.
So I say goodbye my Steel Magnolia. Thank you for the tools you gave me to live my life.
I love you and I miss you.
Your loving son,
Neil E. Tucker