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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

When Thank You Is Not Enough

I was attending a business meeting in Houston, Texas, May 21, and went to my room for a moment prior to a lunch meeting. My cell phone rang and my sister was telling me our father William Franklin Tucker Jr. had just passed away.

Although gravely ill, I had been encouraged by everyone in my family to attend this very important group of meetings. I now realize nothing in life can prepare you for this moment. Calling my father’s wife later that day, I informed her I was cutting my meetings short and had already changed flights. “Your dad would have a fit if you left your meetings now,” she said.

So, knowing it was still Sunday afternoon with no arrangements until Thursday due to the arrival of grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, I decided to stay. It seemed rather surreal for everyone to go about his or her business in Houston, but I started to engage myself in the meetings.

My father, who stood by me as my best man in my wedding and throughout my life, has now been celebrated and buried next to his beloved parents.

To the hundreds and hundreds of people who sent cards, flowers, attended visitation, services, and burial, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The kindness shown makes me wonder where there could possibly be a better and more caring group of people than in our community. Many visitors drove great distances to pay tribute to a very funny man of great character and wisdom. That’s right, Dad; I was forced to say that in print and publicly.

The town of Newburgh paid an incredible tribute by lowering the town flags to half-staff for five days beginning with my father’s visitation. He loved his town and made many contributions in the past. Thank you, Newburgh.

And when the visitation was over Thursday night I turned to my cousin Katie and said, “Can you even believe that many people came through here tonight?” “Yes, I can believe it,” she said. Thanks for everything, Dad. I am missing you already. I know, I’m surprised too. No doubt we still will have many great conversations. 

Our feature story on Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, “A Day in the Life,” captures who the mayor is and what it takes to run the city. Thanks to the Mayor’s Office and the mayor himself for allowing Managing Editor Trista Lutgring unfiltered access for a “typical” day.

In my opinion, regardless of any political leanings, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke is the mayor of Evansville for all the right reasons. Namely, he loves and cares about our community and citizens from all walks of life. Last Friday, at 3:55 p.m. with a visitation at my father’s funeral beginning at 4 p.m., the first two people to pay their respects were Lloyd and his wife Carol. So whether you agree politically or not, Lloyd Winnecke wants to move Evansville forward. Those of you who wish to criticize the mayor, often regarding things you know nothing about? Get out of the way or get involved. When Lloyd was senior vice president of marketing for Fifth Third Bank prior to being elected mayor, we often did business together. During one long conversation — er, business meeting — he told me about possible mayoral ambitions and the changes that would bring to his life.

“Why would you want to subject yourself to that and everything that comes with it, Lloyd?” I asked. “Because I truly feel I can make Evansville a better place,” he replied. Thanks for stepping up and taking the office of mayor head on.

 As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker

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