Sad News: Gene Tucker Has Died

Via Jack Sasson-

Gene M. Tucker
Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory
University January 08, 1935 – January 04, 2018

Denver, Colorado. Gene M. Tucker died on January 4, 2018 at the age of 82. He was born on January 8, 1935, on his grandmother’s dining room table in Albany, Texas. He was the first of five sons born to Raymond H. and Lorene Tucker. He grew up in West Texas, moving with his family at age 10 to the desert west of Andrews. Throughout his youth he hunted and fished with his father and brothers, leaving him with an abiding love for spending time outdoors, especially with the tools of those activities in his hand.

Upon graduating from high school, he entered McMurry College in Abilene Texas and became the first member of his family to earn a college degree. While there, encouraged by some of his teachers, he decided to be not only a minister of the United Methodist Church, but also a scholar and teacher of the Old Testament. But he often said that the most significant event of those years was meeting his life-long partner, Charlyne (Charky) Williams. Upon graduation in 1957, they were married in Abilene, Texas. Their honeymoon was the trip from Texas to New Haven, Connecticut, where he had been admitted to Yale Divinity School.

He graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1960 with the B.D. degree, and then the Yale Graduate School with an 1961 and the Ph.D. in Religion in 1963. He then embarked on his career in teaching, scholarship, and—as he would always stress—as an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. In 1963, he and Charky moved from Connecticut to Los Angeles for his first teaching position in the Graduate School of Religion at the University of Southern California. From there he moved to Duke University Divinity School in 1966 and subsequently to the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 1970, where he taught until his retirement in 1995. In addition to teaching, he served a term as the Associate (academic) Dean at Candler School of Theology.

Tucker became a respected scholar, publishing numerous books and articles as author, co-author, and editor. He wrote for a wide range of audiences, including his academic peers, ministers, and general readers. He took particular pride in facilitating the work of other scholars, particularly by editing several series of publications. His works focused mainly on literary and theological issues in the biblical texts. In his teaching and research he dealt with a wide range of biblical materials, but his work was focused on the prophets and the prophetic literature. He served on the translation committee that produced the New Revised Standard translation of the Bible. In his last years as a teacher and scholar he turned his attention to the issue of the bible and the environment, driven by his concerns for how the human race is abusing its home. He was elected President of the Society of Biblical Literature in 1996. He was honored by McMurry University as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2008.

As a teacher, he was especially proud of a number of his doctoral students who have become distinguished teachers and scholars in their own right in schools and universities around the globe.

When he retired, he and Charky moved to Denver to be closer to their children, and also to be near the trout streams of the Rockies and the open skies of the West.   Gene continued his research and writing until age 76, when he donated his extensive scholarly library to the Protestant Theological Seminary in Puerto Rico. He also taught occasionally, including a semester as Visiting Lecturer at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia.

He and Charky travelled extensively, to Australia several times, to Central and South America, and throughout the American West. The ideal destination included snorkeling, fishing, and birding. It would be an understatement to say that Gene became an avid fly fisherman. He was a founding member of the Old Testament Fishing Society. With friends, he caught salmon in Alaska, bass and bluegill in Virginia, small mouth bass and northern pike in Canada, trout in New Zealand, barramundi in Australia, bonefish, tarpon and permit in Florida and the Caribbean, and—of course—trout in the Rockies. He took special pleasure in catching fish on flies he tied with the feathers of pheasant he shot, or the hair of elk he shot with a muzzle loading rifle. He would tell you a fishing or hunting story at the drop of a hat, whether you had heard it before or not.

He and his family were active in United Methodist churches wherever they lived. He taught the same adult church school class for twenty-five years in Atlanta, and was deeply moved when members of the class established a scholarship fund in his honor at the Candler School of theology. In addition, his volunteer activities included serving as the President of the Council on Human Relations, an organization working for civil rights in the late 1960’s in Durham, NC. For more than a decade he devoted a great deal of his time to leadership roles in the Society of Biblical Literature. He and his family were deeply involved in Ring Lake Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming, a non-profit retreat center beginning in 1974. He served on the board of directors and as president for many years.