May 26, 1935 - April 8, 2016
Burial Date: April 16, 2016
Funeral Home Alexander Casey & Gist Funeral Services
Interment Fountain Cemetery
Friday (4/15): Visitation – 2PM to 4PM and 6PM to 8PM, Mann-Hare-Hoening Funeral Home
Saturday (4/16): Funeral Service – 1PM, Fostoria Junior/ Senior High School
Burial – following the service, Fountain Cemetery
James Tucker Jr., “Jim”, “Uncle June”, of 16019 Knollwood Dr. Dearborn, Michigan and formerly of Fostoria Ohio departed this life on Friday, April 8, 2016 at Good Shepard Home in Fostoria, Ohio. He was born in Spartanburg County, South Carolina May 26, 1935, and was the son of James Tucker, Sr. and Cleo Christine (Fant) Tucker who preceded him in death.
After moving from South Carolina he entered the Fostoria City schools as a second grader (Whittier School) and later went on to graduate from Fostoria High. During High School, he was a three sport athlete lettering in Football, Basketball and Track & Field. He competed in state competitions and earned several athletic honors, while also excelling in academics. He was in the National Honor Society and class president.
Following High School he was recruited by Ohio State and Bowling Green. He accepted the offer to Bowling Green on a Basketball scholarship and played under Coach Harold Anderson. Jim was the first and only African American on the team at the time. When he entered the college, there were no African American coaches, professors or residents in town. On Campus, he became involved in starting black activities along with Carlos and Faith Jackson. (i.e. first Black fraternity -AKO). He was encouraged to use his “capital” to get things moving on campus as he was a highly recruited, a good athlete and people liked him. Jim was the first in his family to get a college education. During his sophomore year, his sister Dorothy joined him on campus, and was his favorite cheerleader.
After graduation, he spent two years in the Army serving mostly in Europe.
In 1961, Bowling Green’s placement office notified him that the Lima Ford Motor Engine Plant was hiring. In 1968 after the riots in Detroit, he was offered the Rouge job, which had 40,000 employees. By 1979 Jim was on Ford’s National Bargaining Committee, where he served for eight years. He was instrumental in bringing diversity to Ford.
He was involved in many initiatives which included the BEEP program (Black Equal Employment Program) sponsored by the Black Urban League and with Operation PUSH (an initiative of Jesse Jackson’s in asking major companies to sign an agreement to improve hiring blacks.) There were other major projects around the issue of diversity and hiring minorities. He was also on other committees to end manufacturing in South Africa and to end apartheid. In 1990 he coordinated Nelson Mandela’s visit to Ford Rouge.
In 1986 he taught a business class at a black university, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Norfolk State.
Jim’s last job was Director of United Auto Workers (UAW) Ford Joint Programs. His team negotiated a historic agreement between Ford and UAW which provide for health and safety measures; training and quality education. This involved an employee wellness program which included local fitness centers; plus regional education and development centers where employees could go to work and to continue their education.
Throughout his lifetime, he remained an active supporter of Bowling Green by serving on several committees (The Alumni Foundation, The Capital Funding Campaign which helped to fund the building of Mileti Alumni Center, The Building Dreams Campaign and the committee for the 50th reunion of the class of 1957.) In memory of his parents he established the James & Cleo Tucker Scholarships for the College of Business Administration and the basketball program.
He was named to Who’s Who in Black America; awarded Outstanding Alumni at Bowling Green; and along with his sister Dorothy was listed among the top 100 alumni in Bowling Green History. Upon his retirement from Ford in 2002 he return to the Fostoria Community and served on the Board of the Bureau of Concern. He was a mentor to the student athletes of Fostoria High School. He provided words of encouragement and worked towards elevating a student’s outlook on things they could achieve with a little hard work and dedication. Whenever the students of the community looked to the stands they always had a fan with a familiar face in the crowd.
During his retirement he enjoyed more golf. He was especially fond of his five hole-in-ones. His first 4some “Tee Time” team will include Edwin Brown, Dick Crawfis and Rueben Sims. He enjoyed a good track meet, hunting, training his bird dogs, gardening and being around his family. He had an extreme love of cars – buying them, refurbishing them, driving them and storing them in any vacant garage he could find. Family was always instructed to keep their garage doors down, otherwise one might find an unfamiliar car stored in it.
He was a member of Faith African Methodist Episcopal Church, Fostoria, Ohio.
Uncle June was the patriarch and leader of the family. He leaves behind to cherish his memory and carry on the family honor and traditions a host of family members. This includes his loyal and devoted brother Jesse Tucker of South Bend, Indiana, a sister Dorothy Tucker (Benjamin Blakley) of Los Angeles, California; and his youngest sister Nancy Tucker of Fostoria, Ohio. He was a father figure to his nieces and nephews: A. Lynn Tucker-Roberts (Mark); Mark A. Tucker; Kim C. Fant-Cousin (Darnell); Keith A. Tucker; M. Kristine Tucker; Jon A. Tucker and Barbara J. Hamilton. His great nieces and nephews: Godson – Stephen Roberts, Ashlyn Roberts; Theren M. Tucker, Delaine and Erica Depp; Godson Nelson Cousin, Andre’ Cousin; Godson Anthony Tucker; Shawn Keels Jr., Lukas Tucker and Deneivia Hamilton.
He also leaves to cherish his memories a host of great great nieces and nephews, cousins and lifelong friends.
Visitation will be from 2-4pm and 6-8pm on Friday April 15, 2016 at Mann-Hare-Hoening Funeral Home, 407 N Countyline St. Fostoria, Ohio, 44830. Services will be on Saturday April 16, 2016 at Fostoria Junior/ Senior High School located on 1001 Park Ave Fostoria, Ohio beginning at 1:00pm. Interment will be at Fountain Cemetery immediately following the service.
Contributions may be made to Faith A.M.E. Church, and the American Cancer Society. Online expressions of sympathy may be made by visiting www.mann-hare.com.