In Memory

Tom Tucker



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10/19/16 01:38 AM #1    

Sandi Seiler (Harrington)

     Palo Verde High School
Class of 1966
Deceased Classmate: Tom Tucker
Date Of Birth: 06-30-1947
Date Deceased: 10-2016
Age at Death: 69
Cause of Death: Unknown
Classmate City: Tucson
Classmate State: 
Classmate Country: USA
Was a Veteran: Yes Army
Survived By: Sisters Karen & Taffy. Neice, Kendall

Tucker was one of my closet friends. He and I shared an apartment my Senior year of High School. Tom had fake ID and would buy the beer for our Keg parties. Tom, Bill Cox, Lefty Trower, myself and many others would cruise Speedway/Johnnies and drag race down Speedway. Tom went to Vietnam as a crew chief/door gunner on a Huey gunship. He and his crew flew repeatedly into the Ashau valley to support/extract injured GI's under withering machine gun/small arms and rocket fire. Tom was awarded, among other medals, a Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery/Valor in the face of deadly enemy resistance. The DFC is one of the the most distinguished awards given to our military. After his service in Vietnam, Tom went to school to become an aircraft mechanic. He also joined the Pima County Sheriff's Department as a deputy. In his later years, Tom was known as an excellent mechanic, repairing cars in his garage at his home. Tom suffered serious injuries in an auto accident and later suffered a stroke. He was a member of several Veterans organizations. Tom passed away at his home in Tucson within the last week. The police found Tom at his home after concerned neighbors called. When I watch Anerican Grafetti, I see Tom as the older hot rodder who died in a car crash according to the credits at the end of the movie. Rest in Peace, buddy. You were one of the best!! 
Posted in honor of friendship by Tom Kelly


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10/19/16 04:48 PM #2    

William Coy Cox

Tom Tucker was one of my oldest and closest friends. Our friendship began in the third grade when we were members of the grade school band. Tom played the drums and I played the coronet. We were still playing in the band by the time we were in Junior High school. One day our band director, Mr. Webb, was sick and the school orchestra teacher, an old lesbian named Miss Tate, took over leading us for the day. Tucker and I decided that it would be a great idea if everyone switched instruments. Most of the girls chickened out but enough of us switched to make it sound really awful. There we were, Tom blowing away on my coronet and me beating away on his base drum. Everything was going great until everyone stopped playing, including me. Miss Tate yelled, “Base drummer, where are you? This is your solo”. I suddenly remembered that part of the song and beat out my solo. Miss Tate was never the wiser. And then there was high school and the cars and the beer. Between Tucker’s fake ID and Kelly appropriating beer from the Circle K where he worked, we were never out of beer; always Coors in the bottle for Tucker. Then there was the time when Tucker, Kelly, Bill Liccione and his girlfriend “The Rabbit”, were sitting in my car at Johnnies Drive In when we got into an altercation with some hippies. The cops arrested all of us except Rabbit when Lefty Trower and his girlfriend Donna Regan drove into the parking lot. We asked Lefty to go round up some bail money as they hauled Tucker, Liccione and I to jail and Kelly went off to Mother Higgins due to his age. The cops took us right through the drive in and I can still see Kelly waving to everyone while sitting by himself in the back of the cop car. We got out about 2 am and by the time Tucker and I got back to E-104 Kelly was waiting with cold beer. We sat around in the living room where Tucker’s motorcycle was torn apart and drank a little until we went to court at 8:30 that morning. And then there was the Viet Nam war that defined a big part of Tom’s life after the 60’s. He was really proud of his service, and especially proud of his DFC. I think he was one of only two enlisted men in the Viet Nam war to receive that award. Tom would always call me on Memorial Day, Veterans Day etc. and wish me a happy day. I will miss that. He was married briefly and I hired his ex-wife with whom he was always on good terms. During this time, I arranged his VA Guaranteed home loan. He still lived in that house which was paid for long ago. He was active in the Viet Nam Helicopter Crew Association and attended their conventions every summer. One year the convention was in Denver and Peter Coors heard that Tom would be there and he presented Tom with an autographed Coors Light Jacket. This was years after the Rocky Mountain News had run a story about Tom painting the rocket pods on his helicopter in Viet Nam to look like a 15 oz. can of Coors.  Tucker really enjoyed the gratitude for his service that that jacket represented to him. I was flattered when a few years ago Tom asked me to become an associate member of his Helicopter Association. He also gave me a 15” by 24” photograph of his helicopter in flight in Viet Nam, complete with Coors rocket pods. We certainly had some good times over a great many years. I will miss my old friend very much.

Submitted by Bill Cox

Tom Tucker was the original crew chief of Sidekick 113.  After arriving in Vietnam, he wrote to his dad and asked him to send paint and a 15 oz. "tall Coors can".  Once he received them, he painted his rocket pods with the Coors design.  In June 2006 at the Vietnam Helicopter Flight Crew Association reunion, Sidekick Pilot "Gordy Henson" presented him with this beautiful model of 113. 

For some reason the pictures of Tom and his helicopter did not come through. If anyone is interested in seeing them I will be happy to e-mail them to you.

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10/24/16 01:03 PM #3    

Daniel Edward White

Fond childhood and teenage memories running around and growing up with Tom. Unfortunately our paths went in different directions as I left Tucson in 1965. I have enjoyed reading the comments by our old buddies Tom Kelly and Bill Cox --- as we all ran around together in our early youth and later in our teenage cruising days. Whether it be Speeday -- Johnnies -- or beer drinking boondoggles in the desert -- we always had a great time and bonded as buddies. l like to think that those early "boondoggle buddy bonding" days of Coor's in the desert (sometimes warm Coor's provided by our buddy Tom Kelly), was the foundation for Tucker's remarkable artistic talent and thought behind the painting of the rocket pods like Coor's cans during his honorable combat time as a decorated Vietnam war hero as a Huey Crew Chief Door Gunner. Way to go Tucker!!!!  Thanks for the great times and memories growing up Tom, and thank you for your Honorable Service to our Country.  Rest In Peace now Warrior. You've earned it buddy!!! My deepest condolences to the Tucker family, and the PVHS family.

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