BR. THOMAS P. TUCKER, C.S.C.
Feb. 1, 1935-Nov. 20, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Br. Thomas Peter Tucker, C.S.C., 81, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind. on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016.
Br. Thomas was born Feb. 1, 1935 in Detroit, Michigan to Joseph and Esther (Cook) Tucker. He graduated from St. Alphonsus School in Dearborn, Michigan in 1950 and attended his first two years of high school at St. Alphonsus High School. He completed his last two years of high school at Central Catholic High School in Detroit, graduating in June, 1954. On October 18, 1954, he was admitted to André House, the Brother’s Postulancy Program at Notre Dame. On August 15, 1955 he entered the Novitiate at Jordan, Minnesota, and he professed First Vows on Aug. 16, 1956, and Final Vows on Aug. 16, 1959.
Br. Tom’s first assignment was to reside at Moreau Seminary, where he studied accounting at Notre Dame and assisted in the Moreau Business Office for two years. In 1958 he moved to campus where for the next four years he served as a prefect in Lyons, Morrissey, Farley and Keenan Halls. In 1962 he became the Assistant Sacristan in Sacred Heart Church with the added duty of making all the altar breads for the campus. In 1968, Br. Thomas became plant manager at Holy Cross Parish in South Bend, and for the next 12 years he took care of the grounds and five buildings. In his spare time, he was in charge of purchasing, banking, church collections, school tuition, and served as the local bookkeeper. He also trained the altar boys and taught CCD classes and assisted with parish social events. Beginning in 1988, he moved to Zahm Hall where he lived for the next 20 years. After moving to Corby Hall in 2008, he continued to assist in the care of the Community Cemetery at Notre Dame, maintained the Sacred Heart Parish Center, and served as Corby Hall manager for a year. He moved to Holy Cross House in 2013.
During his novitiate year, he learned to make rosaries, for which the proceeds have benefitted the Holy Cross Missions for many years.
Preceding him in death are his parents, Joseph and Esther Tucker. He is survived by two brothers, Joseph (Terry) Tucker and Leo (Paula) Tucker; and sister, Ann Marie Burger.
Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, November 27, 2016, at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, IN, where there will be a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus on Monday, November 28, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. Burial will be in the Community Cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at donate.holycrossusa.org.
Wake Eulogy by Rev. Paul Doyle, C.S.C.
Nov. 27, 2016
Holy Cross Brothers have a wisdom that is different from our priests and seminarians. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I sense it, and I’m edified. All of us have sensed that special quality of wisdom that Brothers have. All of us have benefited from it. We give thanks for the gift, the grace of the wisdom of our brothers.
We give thanks for Thomas Peter Tucker. Brother Tom embodied that charism, that wisdom among us for 62 years.
Brother Tom was many things. He was a fisherman. His middle name was Peter. So why wouldn’t he be a fisherman? He loved to go to Land of Lakes, Wisconsin, to fish. He loved to teach people how to fish, and how to clean the fish. He loved to share his catch, which he brought back to Indiana and served to close friends--ever so discretely. Yes, Brother Tom was a fisherman.
He was also frugal. His frugality was showcased at various times and apostolates, as he was in charge of banking, church collections, purchasing, school tuition, and bookkeeper for his local community. His mentor in parish ministry for a decade was Tom’s friend, “Nickels Neidhart,” the pastor. Yes, Brother Tom was frugal, and he was a fisherman.
One fine day when Jesus was trying to teach a few lessons to an apostle, he told him to go catch a fish and in its mouth would be two coins for the Temple Tax. Remember that amazing story? Well, Brother Tom would have loved to have caught that fish. Who wouldn’t?
Today is the First Sunday of Advent. A new year of grace begins. The second reading at Mass this morning was from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. It was proclaimed again for us just moments ago. We know it as the reading that turned St. Augustine’s life around. St. Paul speaks of balance, not excesses, in one’s life.
Brother Tom lived a balanced life. The excesses that St. Paul alluded to in his Letter to the Romans never ensnared Brother Tom. Brother Tom did a lot of work, but he balanced work well with other things. When we lived together in the 1970’s at Holy Cross Parish, Tom would get up and clear the walks of snow so that the parishioners attending the earliest Masses would not have to risk falling. At first he was shoveling the snow. Then he broke down and bought a snow blower.
Brother Tom worked as assistant sacristan in Sacred Heart here on campus. He helped his good friend, Fr. Tom King, C.S.C., in Zahm Hall. Brother Tom helped out there for 20 years. He did a lot of work at Sacred Heart Parish Center, and in our community cemetery he was always cutting grass, raking leaves, or painting the fence. Maintenance was his thing, yet he was low-maintenance.
He was disciplined.
He was a private person. There was plenty of small talk. He had a good sense of humor. In religious communities some stories and jokes tend to get repeated to the delight of those involved. It is the same in families. No one was more delighted in such exchange than Brother Tom was. Beyond this, however, Tom didn’t talk a lot, and when he did, it wasn’t about himself.
Brother Tom had the ability to connect and to let go. He fully engaged in the local community and apostolate where he was assigned. He made good friends. But when he was transferred, he was able to let go, to surrender the past. The friendships endured, but Tom was able to totally invest himself in the new setting. After all, it was the same Lord that he served in each setting.
As Tom lived his 81 years it was apparent how important prayer was to him. He even made and repaired Rosaries to help us to pray. Only God knows how much Brother Tom prayed for us in his time in Holy Cross House.
Tom died last Sunday on the Feast of Christ the King. That feast is the last Sunday of the Church Year. The Church Year points to our acknowledging Christ as our King. All the connecting and letting go of Brother Tom’s life built to last Sunday when Brother Tom could, at last, see Christ our King face to face. The love and care that prevails at Holy Cross House prepared Brother Tom well for his meeting Jesus last Sunday. Each of the staff and residents of Holy Cross House is a source of gratitude and inspiration to all who know them.
The Congregation of Holy Cross gives thanks to God and to Brother Tom’s family for the presence of this beautiful man in our midst. Brother Tom is, indeed, the gift of the Tucker family. If he had stayed with you all, his family, up in Michigan, there would have been many benefits for you. I’m not just talking about Tom’s productivity. I speak also of greater accessibility to his simple goodness. But we in Holy Cross have had this gift of Tom Tucker in our family.
For this gift of your brother, Tom, we are humbled and grateful.
Funeral Homily by Rev. Thomas King, C.S.C.
Nov. 28, 2016
On behalf of the Holy Cross Community, I wish to express our deep and sincere sympathy to the family of our departed Brother Tom. Death has never been easy for anyone at any time in history. Our Lord wept at the tomb of Lazarus, his friend. Lazarus’ death and the great grief of Martha and Mary hurt him. Death seems so cruel, so final, so shocking that everyone feels so helpless in its presence.
Death brings us face to face with the deepest questions of life.
What is life all about? Is death the end?
Surely this is not what Bro. Tom believed. He accepted what Jesus says to us all:
In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And, if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself.
Tuck (as many of us remember him) believed in the Lord. He lived for the Lord. He died for Him. Therefore, he lives now. Remember: he, who believes in me, even though he dies, will come to life.”
I believe that those who die in Christ continue now to live with him and in him, helping him carry on his work. However, I do not believe that those who have died and live in heaven are “at rest.” I cannot believe that Tommy could ever be “at rest” for any amount of time. Like the energizer bunny he was constantly in motion, always busy, always seeking another job, always willing to do and eager to provide and help. Just read his obituary, if you doubt me:
He was the embodiment of what St. Therese once said: “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.” Whether it was preparing a grave at the cemetery where he will soon rest with his fellow-religious, or working as sacristan here at Sacred Heart or preparing steak dinners for the campus Knights of Columbus on a game day, or supervising the work detail on an early Saturday morning for the Friday night miscreants of Zahm Hall in which he could find more jobs than Bayer had aspirin, always reminding those who would “volunteer” he would say: “well, men, remember a clean dorm is a happy dorm – and we are a happy dorm!” And then he would spend his idle minutes making rosaries for a price – without a price tag, just a quiet request based on OLD FASHIONED Catholic guilt: “The price(?) – well, how much are you willing to donate to the Holy Cross Missions, where our men work night and day for Christ and his Church.”
No, our beloved dead do not really leave us. They may not be present with us in the same way as when they were with us before. Maybe it is more exact to say that they are present to us. They live on in memory; they still influence and propel us by their unique example. Brother Tom certainly has.
Now HE knows as never before how WE might live our lives. He knows the Lord will come back and take us to himself; he knows his promise is real and genuine not just fanciful rhetoric. If he could talk to us today, he would tell us that we must “run the race well,” we must learn again and again to live for others; we must try to be signs of Christ, of his love, his joy, his trust – signs pointing the way to Christ for those people with whom he has any contact. He would tell us that each of us is probably the only “way” in which Jesus and his truth can enter into the lives of people who have never known him as we have.
Our faith has been given to us. We did not earn it or merit it. Our faith involves personal responsibility; it imposes obligation – above all the obligation of bearing witness to its power, its beauty, its meaning in our lives.
This man of prayer and deep faith sought the One who was the way, the truth, and the life, this Holy Cross brother was a solid teacher who (besides giving us words of wisdom from his lexicon of truisms – such as “The game isn’t over, till it’s over and there will be a winner” (especially after an overtime win in the stadium; or his carefully phrased reminder at Holy Cross parish when the parish was in a budget crunch, “we have spent too much money on paper, so you must control your eliminations to once a day to save money!” Tommy wasn’t tight, just a cautious bookkeeper with parish funds!
This never-shut-out fisherman who knew all the best trolling spots at Land O’Lakes (his famous fish fries at Creevy House and his favorite fishing partner Bill Neidhardt can attest to this) and whose boundless energy and zeal is an example for us all reminding us that yes, death does offer grief and sorrow. But sorrow, must not be wasted. Sorrow and grief can be a most powerful prayer, if we join it to the sorrow and grief in the heart of Jesus.
So even though death is harsh and cruel, we are told “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God have faith also in me.”
And, thank you, Tuck, for your simple wisdom, your tireless example, and your witness to the Lord, who promises us that He will came back and take us to himself!”
WE CAN BE THANKFUL THAT WE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF KNOWING HIM!