Larry Tucker

Jul 03, 2018

Larry H. Tucker, 85, of Morrill passed away July 2, 2018. He was born in May 1933, in Belfast, in the home of his aunt and uncle, the late Priscilla Alden (nee Fortier) and Dr. Richard P. Jones. Known as “The Pitcher House,” Dr. Jones, as was the practice then, had his offices in the home. He delivered his nephew.

Shortly after, Larry went up north with his younger sister to live with their paternal grandparents on their farm on Tucker Ridge, Webster Plantation. He attended the one-room, one-teacher, Webster Plantation school into the seventh grade. He then attended schools in the Boston area and graduated from Chester High School in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Following graduation, he moved to Belfast, working and actually living, on the tug, The Sequin, under then owner, Capt. Holmes. The tugs mainly ran from Belfast to the Bay of Fundy. This would cement his lifelong love of the sea.

He enlisted in the Navy, becoming a submariner as a radar, sonar and optics specialist. Following the Navy, he started work in Florida in the newly emerging space Industry, during “The Mercury Seven” years, with the first seven astronauts: John Glenn, Wally Schirra, etc. He was eventually employed with ITT and stationed in Antigua, West Indies, tasked with establishing the first tracking tower there and setting it up with the newest type of radar. He bought a house on the Island and a catamaran for sailing the azure seas there.

In the late '50s, he took a couple of years off, commercial fishing on the Gulf of Mexico for red snapper and grouper as a solo fisherman on a two-masted schooner named the Wanderer. He had some close calls with hurricanes etc on the Gulf but when the space industry came and pleaded with him to come back, he left fishing and his love — the open sea — to rejoin ITT.

He later transferred to work for ITT out of Vandenburg Air Force Base in California, where he became responsible for the tracking towers in Big Sur, Hawaii, the Samoas, etc. In conjunction with that, he invented a joystick tracker that made it much easier to track the rockets. (On the side, after his sister had forgotten one too many times to turn off the car lights, running down the battery, he invented what may have been the first car alarm that would go off if the lights were left on. It didn't, however, give that gentle "ding ding ding" of today's alarms, but started out with a low siren alarm and then rapidly got higher, making one think it was about to explode if you didn't turn the lights off – quick!)

Also, in the years when the most of us were watching our black and white TV’s, he built his own color TV.

He retired from the space industry in 1994, bought a house back home in Maine, took a course in forestry and became a volunteer fireman in Morrill, but he never retired from “tinkering” or the sea. Over the last nearly quarter of a century of his life, he owned sailboats and was still working, scraping barnacles and such, on his last one, sitting in the harbor. He also rode his motorcycles right up to the last year and mowed his large lawn the week before he passed.

Larry was preceded by his parents, Hugh L. Tucker and Gertrude (nee Fortier) Tucker, both of Maine.

He is survived by his daughters, Louise Tucker of Morrill and Leslie Tucker of Massachusetts; grandchildren, Adam L. Dunn of Oregon, Brendon Bass of Florida and Cheryl Moreno of Texas; his sister, Marion Tucker-Honeycutt of Morrill; several great-grandchildren; a niece; and four nephews.

Memories and condolences may be shared at ripostafh.com.

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