The PP55 founders, and greater family and Board of Princeton AlumniCorps are sad to share the news that John Tucker, a founder and friend of this great organization, died on October 9, 2010. John Tucker served two terms on the PP55 Board of Directors, and faithfully served as a fundraising volunteer for the past 21 years.
In one of PP55’s earliest outreach efforts, John wrote, “At age 55 we are at a point in life when, after spending most of our time trying to take care of ourselves and our families, we have the time, the ability and the desire to contribute to the public good.” John lived his life devoted to his family, friends, and the public interest. He will be deeply missed, and his impact and hard work endures through the sustained efforts of PP55 fellows, Princeton AlumniCorps, and John’s membership in the Princeton AlumniCorps Legacy Society.
John was a gifted writer. In the PP55 Founders Book, John wrote the following about his experience:
“In 1985, after nearly 30 years as a trial and appellate lawyer with Jenner & Block, a large law firm in Chicago, I moved to Virginia with my wife, Jayne, who was beginning a new career as a law professor. A major impetus for the move was my own long-held plan to pursue a second career of my own, as a writer. As a result of the move, I had both the time and the geographical proximity to attend the fateful mini-reunion in Washington which gave birth to Project 55.
Although I believe my friend Ralph Nader is one of the greatest Americans of our generation, I was not especially looking forward to his luncheon speech that weekend. I had attended some of his speeches before and found them important, but a bit dry and earnest for my taste. I was therefore delighted at the light touch and wit with which he addressed us—and thrilled when he proposed honoring our 35th Reunion by creating an organization that would serve the public interest in a concrete way. What Ralph proposed that day would ultimately become the Public Interest Program. And when Charlie Bray raised Ralph’s ante by suggesting that we also provide a framework for our classmates to create projects of their own, I was hooked. I had devoted a lot of time as a lawyer to working pro bono for people and projects I believed in, and this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to continue public interest work while pursuing my new career.
A few weeks after that meeting I joined a core group of classmates in Washington to begin the concrete planning for Princeton Project 55. Lots of meetings later, but well in time for that 35th Reunion, PP55 was a reality.
Other than those early planning sessions, I cannot honestly say my contributions to the organization have been great. I wrote the first brochure describing Project 55 and a long article about it for a magazine. I served two terms on the Board of Directors, during which Ann Spaeth and I began trying to articulate the role of what we call the Center for Civic Leadership. I also worked on efforts to assure the long-term continuation of PP55, and tried unsuccessfully to enlist other classes and schools to create similar organizations—a task that Chet Safian has brilliantly brought to fruition. But if I cannot claim to be one of PP55’s real heroes, I can say that I am enormously proud of the organization and its accomplishments, of my classmates who created and sustained it for all these years, and of the small parts I have played in its creation and success.”
John is survived by his wife, Jayne Barnard, Cutler Professor of Law at Marshall-Wythe; his four children, Katie Tucker Trippi, Cynthia Tucker, Laura Tucker, and Michael Tucker; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Contributions may be made to Princeton AlumniCorps, 12 Stockton St., Princeton NJ 08540. Plans are pending for a memorial service in November.