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Thomas Kirk Tuck

Thomas Kirk Tuck (Tom) departed from this world in the early morning hours of June 29, 2021, at age 89.  In the weeks leading up to his death, he visited with all of those most dear to him, which included his children, Pam Saari (Mark), Leslie Tuck, and Tom Tuck Jr. (Ann Marie); his beloved grandchildren, Nicole Civello (Steve), Stephanie Caldwell (Andrew), Jared Tuck, Melissa Ross (Andrew) and Cailin Tuck; and great-grandchildren, Stephen and Claire Civello, and Hudson and Quinn Caldwell. Until his passing, Tom shared a room with the love of his life, Barbara Anne Jones Tuck, in the Assisted Living Facility where they resided, and she was near his side until the end.

Tom and Barbara were married for almost 69 years and shared many of life’s special moments together, including Tom’s college years and graduation, the birth of their children, their big move to Florida in 1962, Tom’s success at Honeywell and his eventual retirement, their love of tennis, the birth of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and many happy gatherings with family and friends. Tom lived a long, fulfilling life and was always an optimistic, upbeat person.

Tom was born at home on October 30, 1931, in Homer City, Pennsylvania, to Lester Woodman Tuck and Gladys Adele Kirk Tuck. Family legend says he was born almost a month late and weighed over 10 pounds at birth. He had one older brother, Charles, who was always referred to as Woody.

Tom’s boyhood was a happy one, even though he was born during the worst part of the Great Depression and from age 11 to 14 experienced the shortages and disruptions brought about by World War II. His happiness emanated from the love of his family and the wonderful small-town atmosphere in Homer City. His maternal grandfather, Dr. Charles Kirk was the town’s medical doctor and ran his practice out of his home right down the street from 44 West Elm Street, where Tom resided with his parents and brother. His paternal grandfather, Lafayette Tuck was a successful businessman and had numerous interests in coal mines and lumber operations in and around Homer City. He and his wife also lived just several blocks from Tom and his family. Tom had numerous Great Aunts that lived nearby and he always talked about how he took piano lessons from one of them and was taught in Sunday school by another. He had fond memories of listening to the radio news broadcasts during WWII with his Grandfather Kirk and tracking troop movements on a large world map kept near the radio.

Tom’s father Lester, another kind and generous man, worked at the Farmers Bank and Trust in Indiana, PA. all throughout the Great Depression and up until his death in 1967.  And his mother, Gladys kept the family home running and was always busy taking care of other family members who lived with them at various times. In fact, Tom always felt like he had two sisters in addition to his brother because of his mother taking in and caring for her sister’s children, his cousins Mary Ann and Margie McCluskey.

Tom was educated in the local Homer City schools and graduated from Homer City High School in 1949. He worked as a stock and delivery boy at the local grocers and always had a paper route – either the Pittsburgh paper or the local Indiana Gazette.  He was a naturally smart fellow and did well in school – although he preferred joking around and cutting up as opposed to serious study.

Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Marine Corp along with one of his best buddies, Tom Kenley. Since he was only 17, he had to get his parents approval to join. They acquiesced since it didn’t appear that the country would be at war any time soon. Tom always remembered that joining the Marines during the summer wasn’t one of his best ideas, because he had to complete boot camp during the brutally hot and humid summer weather in Parris Island, SC.

Tom survived boot camp and was transferred upon completion to the Marine Corp base at Camp LeJeune, NC, to learn the business of supplying Marine divisions. After that he was stationed at a base in California and he thoroughly enjoyed his time there, including side trips to Los Angeles and Tijuana, Mexico. Unfortunately, in June 1950, the United States became involved in the Korean War and Tom was shipped out with the First Marine Division to Korea to fight for his country. He was involved with some serious fighting and always said he had never been so cold or scared in his life while he was there. For a time, his division was “lost” and surrounded by the enemy near the Chosin Reservoir and both his mother and father feared the worst. He wasn’t heard from for several weeks, but luckily Tom and his division managed to fight in a different direction (i.e.,retreat) and were saved from capture by the North Koreans.

It was during his service in Korea that he began thinking about a girl from his high school that he had dated very briefly when home on leave during his supply school training. He wrote her a letter and they began a correspondence which lasted throughout his tour of duty in Korea. When he returned from Korea, he couldn’t wait to see Barbara Jones, the girl he had written to so often, and began a serious relationship with her that would last for the rest of his life. Tom was ultimately stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia where he hitchhiked home to see his Barbie as much as he could.

Tom and Barb were married on October 11, 1952 and lived for a brief time in Portsmouth until his discharge from the Marines in November, 1952. Tom decided to use his GI Bill benefits to attend college and work on an engineering degree at Penn State University.

Shortly after arriving at Penn State, Tom and Barb found out that they would become parents and Pamela Anne, their first daughter, was born in July 1953. Although Barb’s parents had reservations about Tom attending college when he had a family to support, he and Barb decided that they would continue on with school.  Barb worked as a campus telephone operator to help support them and Tom worked whenever he could to earn additional money. Luckily, many other GI Bill students were in the same boat so Tom and Barb didn’t worry about how things would work out, even though they were raising a baby in a one room trailer on the Penn State campus, with no running water or private bathroom facilities.

Their college years were treasured by both, and after his graduation in January 1957, Tom secured a job with Goodyear Aircraft in their aerospace division. The job was in Akron, Ohio, so they moved to an apartment in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, in October, 1957 Leslie Adele, their second daughter, was born.

Life continued with Tom, Barb, Pam and Leslie living in various locations around the Akron area until they finally bought their first home in Stow, Ohio. It was during their time in Stow that in February, 1962 Thomas Kirk Tuck, Jr. was born. The family was now complete.

Around this time Tom began to hear rumblings that the Goodyear Aerospace division might be sold, so he began looking at other job opportunities in the aerospace field. One of his interviews was with Honeywell Inc. at their new plant in Clearwater, Florida. An offer of a good job with a bright future was forthcoming, and Tom and Barb decided to make a huge change in their lives and move to Florida.

It was a big adjustment for everyone, especially for Barb, who missed her large family tremendously. The first house they rented wasn’t air-conditioned and true to form, Tom chose to make this huge change to a tropical climate In July – one of the hottest months in Florida. Thankfully, most days there were afternoon thunderstorms that stifled the heat somewhat – but nevertheless it was a long, hot, buggy beginning in Florida. Everyone in the family looked forward to church on Sundays, because it was one of the few places that was air-conditioned. Long distance phone calls were expensive, and air travel was reserved for the rich, so Barb and Tom didn’t see many of their up-north relatives for the first two years they lived in Florida. But they persevered and grew to love their new home state, especially in the winter months when the up-north relatives were snowbound and freezing.

Tom prospered in his new job at Honeywell and eventually became the Program Manager for many important programs at Honeywell, including the Centaur Program, Viking, and Voyager. He received many other promotions and assignments during his career including one that lead to him making numerous trips to Japan. His biggest legacy at Honeywell was the launch of the F3 ring gyro program which led the way for many subsequent contracts and programs for Honeywell in the Military Avionics Division. Tom retired from Honeywell in March 1994 after 30 plus years of service and celebrated with a big family ski trip to Colorado.

Tom and Barb had been able to travel to various parts of the country as part of Tom’s job and continued taking trips after his retirement from Honeywell. But they always reserved much of their travel time to return to Pennsylvania and Ohio to visit their parents and attend various family weddings and reunions. With Barb having twelve siblings, there was always a wedding or some type of family celebration to attend. Tom acquired many brothers and sisters-in-law due to marrying Barb and also became an uncle many times over.

After Tom’s retirement he volunteered for the VA, driving a van to pick up disabled veterans and bring them to their medical appointments at Bay Pines. He played golf and tennis with his buddies and he devoted a lot of time to his grandchildren that first began arriving in 1981. He drove them to games and appointments and ferried the younger grandchildren to and from middle and high school many times.

Tom enjoyed relatively good health throughout his life other than a heart attack in 1984 which he was lucky to survive. After that heart attack, he took his health more seriously, and never had any additional heart problems until 2018 when he had a successful triple by-pass. At the urging of his children, he and Barb purchased a condo in an independent-living life care community in 2016. They enjoyed their time there until early 2020 when they moved to an Assisted Living Facility.  Unfortunately, the COVID epidemic began shortly thereafter. The pandemic had a detrimental effect on both Tom and Barb’s health due to family visitation restrictions and other limitations. But, at all times, they had each other, which was all that really mattered to them.

Tom’s health declined rapidly starting in 2021 and it was evident that his passing wasn’t far away. Luckily, the vaccine was developed and COVID restrictions were lifted in enough time for all of his children and grandchildren to visit with him and let him know that he was loved and appreciated by all.

Tom will always be remembered as a great Dad, a wonderful husband, and grandfather extraordinaire. He was generous, kind and funny. He was the moral compass for the family and none of us will ever forget his loving and wise presence. We love you Dad and hope you know that you are held dear by all of us. Your Barbie will join you someday, and in the meantime you can rest easy knowing you did the best you could possibly do and left a legacy that will live on in the hearts and minds of those that love you.


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  • Joyce Porada-Marmo says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Uncle Tom will be missed so much. He was such a kind and gentle man and I have wonderful memories of the visits to our house.My mom and dad thought very highly of your father. He was truly an amazing man.

  • Deb Jones says:

    Pam, Mark and family, our condolences on the loss of your father. The tribute is a loving story of a wonderful man. Although Mark knew Uncle Tom much better than I did, I enjoyed the few times we visited with him. We are so sorry for your loss.

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