Tucker named Henderson's Citizen of the Year

Feb. 01, 2013 @ 03:58 PM

Six years after retiring from a 35-year medical practice in Henderson, one would likely find Dr. Bev Tucker driving a bus of kids to church before they saw him relaxing on a beach or humbling a friend on the tennis court.

Tucker’s unbending dedication to his family, community and young people was honored Thursday night as he received the 2012 Citizen of the Year award during the Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce’s 75th annual Membership Meeting and Banquet.

“He hasn’t just gone to the beach and lived a life of retirement,” said Nancy Bryant, a family friend of 40 years, whose husband was in medical training with Tucker. “He’s just kicked his heels in at a different level to work as hard for the community.”

Prior to retirement, Tucker’s love for children was transcended through his family medical practice. Upon retirement, volunteering became his daily work.

“He is tireless,” Bryant said. “He just gives, gives, gives.
“The days are never long enough. He always has more to accomplish, and more to do.”

A true love for children has always been in Tucker’s heart, and was transcended through his work as a family doctor prior to retirement.

“I’ve always loved children, and that was part of my medical practice as well,” Tucker said. “I’ve always been an advocate of public school education, although some of my children went to private school.”

With a strong belief that no profession is more vital than the teaching of children, Tucker has long been an advocate of educators. He serves as president of the Vance County Public School Foundation, which provides support to Vance County Schools through financial help with projects, funding of teacher workshops and school grants for special activities.
His service does not stop there.

Every week, Tucker drives a church van, picking up children from area schools and bringing them to discipleship classes and children’s choir programs at First Baptist Church in Henderson.

“He’s so dedicated to all that he does,” said Dr. Marion Lark, the former pastor at First Baptist. “As far as the church is concerned he’s considerably involved.

“He’s committed to family, and the University of North Carolina is another one of his great loves.”

Tucker, a deacon at First Baptist, was also once Lark’s personal physician.

“I knew him best as my personal physician, and a very competent and compassionate person from that standpoint of a medical practice,” Lark said. “He’s very low key, never seeks attention.”

Woody Caudle, CEO of the Henderson Family YMCA, was also a patient of Tucker. Tucker is also a YMCA board member.

“Bev was my doctor for 25 years, and a friend for 30,” said Caudle, who remembers spending his lunch hour working out with Tucker, an advocate of physical fitness and an accomplished tennis player.

“He’s always been a person to promote you being healthy in a very kind way,” Caudle said. “We had the same lunch hour and would work out together. I had missed a couple of days and Bev was calling me saying, ‘Where are you?’”

Five years before the YMCA opened, Tucker was the first charter member, championing a campaign to bring it to Henderson. Today, 23 years after opening, the Henderson Family YMCA has expanded twice, and serves over 6,000 members.

“He had a vision that it would be good for the community,” Caudle said. “He’s a member and leader at the YMCA. He means a lot to the YMCA.”

With his four children, nine grandchildren, and Anne, wife of 49 years by his side, Tucker approached the podium Thursday night to accept his award as Citizen of the Year.

His innate passion to give back was reflected through the humble demeanor in which he thanked the audience.

“Thank you very much for this honor,” Tucker said. “Most of the people in this room volunteer just like I do.

“Henderson is a very giving place. If we give to it, it gives back to us, and I would urge all of you to do just that.”

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.