Endowment Carries on Educators' Lifelong Legacy

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Peggy Ann and Coach Fred Tucker were passionate about each other, their faith, their family, and the students they had the privilege to teach. Each year this named endowment will bless a higher education student from The South Georgia Conference wtih a $1,000 scholarship that has the potential to be quadrupled. Their son, Mark Tucker, shares how this endowment honors their legacy.

My parents, Coach Fred and Peggy Ann Tucker, were married 60+ years. They met at a movie theatre in Tifton. Given that my dad was 12 years older, mom first rebuffed his offers but was finally convinced by her friends that he was a good catch. He was a coach and teacher and drove a pink Cadillac. When he called her back a few weeks later, she agreed to a date. The rest was history.

Both mom and dad were lifelong educators. Between the two of them, they taught or coached over 10,000 students over 70+ years in Randolph, Tift, and Berrien counties. A teacher and coach have an outsized amount of influence in a small town, and they influenced very many.

They both considered teaching to be their calling, and they took it seriously. At the same time, they didn’t take themselves too seriously and remained unfailingly good-natured, unpretentious, and generous throughout their lives.

Both mom and dad grew up in the Depression. This difficult past could have made them both hard and brittle. But in them, it did the opposite. They were both generous to a fault, and while not wealthy, they were extremely giving and ready to assist with all kinds of causes.

My folks were doers. They thought of their work teaching and coaching as an extension of their faith. Mom and dad thought that character development was maybe the most important thing they could impart to their students. And while my dad could lay it on thick with the rules and regulations, he understood those were a means to an end – not the end itself. This was how they shared their faith.

Besides their work in education, they were stalwart members at the United Methodist church in whatever town we lived. Dad taught Sunday school. Mom worked with the children’s ministry and played piano for various groups at church.

It took our family by surprise when my mom passed away before my dad. When she died, we were very worried about my dad’s ability to get through each day. He was still in good health and mind but was lost without my mom. My brother Greg and his wife, Kelly, stepped up and took great care of him until he died in 2019.

After my mom’s death, our family established the Peggy Ann and Fred Tucker Scholarship Endowment with the Georgia United Methodist Foundation. My dad was the first to go to college in his family. He had the good fortune to get a football scholarship at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville during the 1940s. He did whatever it took to make ends meet and stay in college. And while my mom’s circumstances were not as dramatic, she taught countless thousands of children of all ages for almost 50 years.

My dad saw this endowment as a chance to give a student the same opportunities that he had. Given their history and livelihoods, our family thinks it’s the perfect continuing legacy to celebrate their lives.