John Tucker ’55, Founder and Friend, dies

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.”

Click here to read John’s obituary in the Virginia Gazette.

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.

Marjorie Berger, Princeton AlumniCorps Administrative Officer, dies

Marjorie K. Berger, the “matriarch” of Princeton AlumniCorps (formerly Princeton Project 55) died Thursday, July 29, 2010 at the University Medical Center at Princeton. Born in Queens, NY, Marge attended Queens College and was a graduate of the Katharine Gibbs School in New York City. She was a member of the Kingston Presbyterian Church, Princeton Friends of the Opera, Princeton Public Library and the Auxiliary of the University Medical Center of Princeton. Marge was predeceased by her beloved husband, Ronald C. Berger. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Deborah B. and Thomas E. Liwosz of Pennington, son and daughter-in-law Gregory R. and Rosanne D. Berger of South Brunswick, grandchildren Christopher T.R. Liwosz, Timothy W. Liwosz, Matthew C. Liwosz, Kyle Berger and Allyson Berger. A Memorial Service will be held 11:00 am Saturday, August 21, 2010 at Kingston Presbyterian Church, 4561 State Highway 27, Kingston. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Princeton AlumniCorps (formerly Princeton Project 55), 12 Stockton St., Princeton, NJ 08540 (609-921-8808). Arrangements are under the direction of The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, Princeton.

In the Project 55 Founders Book, Marge wrote of her experience:

Joining Princeton Project 55 in 1990, as the first employee, was a turning point in my life. After the death of my husband, I was looking for a new direction. Although leaving the security of The Hun School of Princeton after 10 years was somewhat of a gamble, my instincts told me it was the right thing to do. I did not see these vital members of the Class of 1955 failing in anything they undertook, and of course they have proved me right beyond all imagination. My life has been enriched immeasurably by my association with this unique Class, with the unusually talented, devoted, idealistic young people who come through our doors every year as applicants, and with the crème de la crème from Princeton University―and more recently from other colleges―who are employed as dedicated staff members. It has been an exhilarating experience for me.
I have seen the start-up organization grow from the one whose fledgling Public Interest Program placed 23 interns and fellows in 1990. By 2006 it had flourished and expanded to support 59 fellowships, while Princeton’s Class of 1969 had assumed responsibility for the internships and filled 69 places in that year. Several additional successful programs were initiated after the PIP, among them the Tuberculosis Initiative, the Civic Values Initiative, and The Alumni Network, all of which have impacted thousands.
Many new friendships have developed as a result of my tenure at PP55, which have enriched my life tremendously.
The Board of PP55’s foresighted decision to recruit members of younger classes to serve on its Board has proven to be fortuitous. There are currently 14 directors from the classes of 1966 through 2002―yet another example of the pragmatic, visionary leadership of this unique Board.
It has been my pleasure to work with this dynamic group.

To honor Marge’s 20th Anniversary at Princeton AlumniCorps, the Board and Staff presented her with the following tribute:

Dear Marge,
Just twenty years ago you signed in as the first full-time employee of a fledgling venture whose future was yet to be clearly defined. It was a bold move for a woman who had recently experienced deep personal loss, and who might have been expected to take comfort in the familiarity of a long-standing job. But no, you are a lady who realized that nothing noble is done without risk, and that risk can be part of the daily bread of a well-lived life. And so you joined PP55, moving among us ever since with elegant grace.
Marge, you have it all – style, a sense of fun, patience, thoroughness, and a tenacious memory. This last has proved invaluable to an institution marked by planned turnover of directors and a young staff.
Drum roll, please! Did someone bring the twenty year commemorative bronze Fig Newtons with the gold leaf cluster?
But wait! Let’s scratch a bit below the surface. PP55 is hardly your standard issue organization. The Board is highly active in matters of policy and execution, working in tandem with a brilliant young staff unafflicted by bashful reticence. Talk is the coin of the realm; indeed Board meetings are exercises in facing problems with both an open mind and an open mouth. At the end of each meeting board members, much like doting grandparents, head for home, leaving the staff to clean up and sharpen the details of tactical plans.
Further, because of its venture nature, PP55 has been home to both clear triumphs and lost causes. You and the rest of the staff have had an important, if insufficiently acknowledged role in smoothing the way on a sometimes seemingly impassible road.
Marge, you have the longest inside view of all of this. You have demonstrated patience when it was needed, a steady professionalism, and a hope-filled humor that has always brightened the landscape.
What seems eminently important about your years with us is your role in the continuing PP55 drama as a truly “class act,” an exemplar for the many young staff members who have passed our way. As a mother and grandmother, so as a mentor, you have combined practical competence with generosity of affection. Perhaps it’s what the Duke in Measure for Measure had in mind when he said, “Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with clearer love.”
Thanks, Marge, thanks for everything, and thanks for the memories. Happy 20th Anniversary at Princeton Project 55.

Love,
The PP55 Board and Staff

Please leave a response below to share your memories of Marge.



Please leave a response below to share your memories of Marge.