Juan Ray Tucker, of Atwood, Oklahoma passed away quietly on Thursday, August 29, 2019, after 86 amazing years as a teacher, cattle rancher, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and most importantly, husband to his wonderfully tolerant wife of 67 years Ruby.
Juan was the first and only son of Chester Nickell and Edna Culver and was born on his grandfather’s farm in Atwood on November 14, 1932, the same farm Juan would spend his lifetime rebuilding.
Born of the Great Depression, Juan enjoyed a youth of no running water, no electricity and an abundance of hard work. He loved it all; he loved that place he called home. At an early age his mother and step father moved him and the family to Northern California on the great migration depicted in the Grapes of Wrath, when many Okies, displaced by poverty, sought opportunity in the orchards near Sacramento. Juan had fond memories of this experience and seldom talked of the adversity they endured during this chapter.
Sometime in his late teens he returned to Atwood and came across a beautiful high school basketball player walking home after practice. Offering her a ride they began a journey that lasted the rest of his life. Ruby McDaniel would soon become Ruby Tucker in a double wedding with Bob and Joyce Treat on April 25, 1952. The two couples remained lifelong friends.
Juan was part of the National Guard and then joined the Army, ultimately being stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1953. His beloved daughter LaJuana was born in Holdenville on October 13th of the same year while he was stationed afar.
After the Army, Juan used his GI Bill to go to college at East Central College in Ada where he earned a Bachelors and Masters of teaching degree in Industrial Arts. Upon receiving his teaching certificate in 1958, Juan, Ruby and LaJuana headed to Parker, Arizona to start the next chapter of their lives as Educators. They brought in tow with them their next child, Andrew, who would be born three months later.
Living in the middle of the Mohave Desert, alongside the Colorado River, was a long way from Atwood, but they made their life there for the next 25 years. Juan loved Parker, teaching and the people of the Desert and Reservation. But Juan’s love for his beloved ranch never lessened and he spent every summer of every year back in Atwood being the rancher he always dreamed of being. His vision was undeniable.
He was a man of many talents, teacher, bus driver, sports score keeper, roofer, remodeler, vacuum cleaner salesman and he even had his own carpet cleaning company along the way. He was driven to provide for his family, spend his summers in Oklahoma and rebuild his ranch. He seemed drawn to hard work so long as it helped him achieve his dream.
In 1965 they were blessed with the addition of their last son David. David was born on May 28th , which coincided with the end of school, which always coincided with Juan coming to Atwood. This year he gave Ruby one extra day to rest and on the 29th , the day after giving birth to their new son, they loaded up and made the 1200 mile drive to Atwood. Maybe Juan wasn’t the only tough member of this family!
They loved Arizona but Oklahoma was home. Upon an early retirement in the early 80’s they left Parker for the last time and headed home for good. Within months one would never know Juan had ever left Atwood or that he had ever been a professional teacher. He became a fully-fledged rancher.Cowboy hat, leather boots, a herd of cows, a good string of horses and some cow dogs, he was truly home. He now cut hay, ran his bulldozer, fixed fence, built barns and continued to acquire more property. He always felt a man was not really a rancher until he owned over 1000 acres and by 1990 he accomplished that goal.
He continued to enjoy his rural lifestyle, the hard work and long hours the ranch offered. He developed a nice herd of Brangus cattle and loved to sell young bulls to neighbors. He was an accomplished maker of wooden writing pens and we believe he made well over a 1000. Some he sold, but most he gave to special people in his life. If you received one of his pens he thought a lot of you because he did not take giving a gift lightly.
Juan was not always an easy man but he was a good man. He was tough and he had high expectations of others. He was frugal to a fault and he could make a dollar last. His success was defined by his hard work, his vision, his love of family and ultimately the little ranch his grandfather started so many years ago.
His journey was a great journey and it continues in those he leaves behind. Juan’s legacy includes his wife Ruby; children, LaJuana and Dave Duncan, Andy and Claudia Tucker and David Tucker; six grandchildren, Chase, Dustie, Kawika, Aaron, Joy, Luke, Matt, Kelly and Brenda; and fi ve great-grandchildren, Zachery, Ryan, Hailee, Carmen, and Sailor. His siblings, Floy Rogers, Johnny Tucker, Loretta Culver, Audrey Culver, Glenn Nickell and Retta Gadbury; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends
He was proud to be a lifelong member of the Masonic Lodge.
Funeral services were held Tuesday, September 3rd at 1:00 PM at the First Baptist Church of Allen, Oklahoma. Active pallbearers were Ryan Winters, Zachary Smith, Chase Alcaida, Luke Tucker, Matt Tucker and Scott Sartain. Serving as honorary pallbearers were Jim McDaniel, Bill McDaniel, Kelly McDaniel, Kenny McDaniel, Dave Duncan, Kim Ray, Ken Chesnutt, Bill Culver, John Tucker and Art Fox
All services were under the direction of Parks Brothers Funeral Home, Okemah, and officiated by Rev. Nancy McDaniel with Col. Jim McDaniel assisting.
Memorials in memory of Juan may be made to the Allen Masonic Lodge #81, Allen, OK 74825. Online condolences may be made at www.