Thomas Tucker of Aledo, Illinois passed away on July 5, 2022 in Iowa City, Iowa. Born in Peoria to Edward W. and Dorothy (“Dode”) Tucker on November 16, 1946, he was the oldest of four children. He is a graduate of East Peoria High School and earned a Bachelor of Science from University of Illinois.
Tom had a lifelong passion for learning, especially with regard to the sciences. As a 5th grade science teacher, he spent his career engaging and encouraging his students to explore the world around them through hands-on experiments and activities. For years, one of those activities included each student planting a tree in what was eventually dedicated as “Tucker Woods” outside of Apollo Elementary.
Following his retirement, Tom turned his attention to other interests, including gardening, travel, camping, and restoring old trucks (including his 1953 Chevy, “Sherman”). He also dedicated over 25 years to fossil digs and bone preparation, volunteering his time and expansive knowledge to numerous projects and institutions, including the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Marmarth Research Foundation in North Dakota. In return, he gained lifelong friendships and fed his never-ending desire to learn.
Tom is survived by his wife of 53 years, Marta (Hofstatter) Tucker. The two met in college and spent their adult lives challenging one another to numerous projects, the most important of which was their family. They raised three daughters who all survive him: Kristina Tucker of Kewanee, Patricia Tucker of Galesburg, and Stephanie Tucker of Denver, Colorado. Tom is also survived and forever missed by his first grandchild, Elias Jacob, of Denver. Also surviving him are his siblings: Victoria Wegner of Galena, Charles (Meri) Tucker of East Peoria, and Susan (Tade) Layden of Normal, his brothers-in-law Alan and Herman Hofstatter, and many nieces and nephews.
Following a private viewing and memorial for the family, the community is invited to celebrate Tom’s life at an outdoor visitation from 4 to 6 p.m. on July 14 at Speer Funeral Home. Private burial will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Mercer County Relay for Life, or the Mercer County Excellence in Education Foundation.