Harrison E. Tucker, 98, Beth Steel crane operator

May 29, 2004

Harrison E. Tucker, a retired Bethlehem Steel Corp. crane operator and longtime member of Zion Baptist Church, died of heart failure Wednesday at Union Memorial Hospital. He was 98.

Mr. Tucker was born and raised in Dinwiddie County, Va., where he attended public schools. The son of a farmer, he left school to help support his family.

He moved to Baltimore in 1929, working as a crane operator at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant. During his 42-year career, he missed only several days of work when he was briefly hospitalized in 1964 after suffering a heart attack.

He retired in 1971.

Mr. Tucker was married for 65 years to Mary Irene Payne, who died in 2001. For 75 years, he lived in a rowhouse the couple owned on Kenhill Avenue in Northeast Baltimore.

"He lived independently until a few months before his death. He maintained a busy lifestyle and drove his car until he was 95. He spent many hours transporting neighbors and friends to various appointments," said his daughter, Jean Tucker Mann of Pikesville.

Mr. Tucker was honored as the Father of the Year by the Baltimore Afro-American in 1994.

"During the interview, he spoke of his love for children and had a special message for all fathers. `Love your children and be good to them. Raise them up in a way that they don't do harm to themselves or others. You can go a long way with your children by just reasoning with them,'" his daughter said.

He was a member of Zion Baptist Church, where he served on the usher board for more than 60 years.

"Family and friends could always depend on him to give support and assistance whenever the need arose. He had a wonderful sense of humor, a calm, gentle, caring spirit and an engaging smile," his daughter said.

He was an avid fisherman.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Zion Baptist Church, 1700 N. Caroline St.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Tucker is survived by two grandsons and two great-grandsons.

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