MARCO ISLAND — He was the lawyer and former city council member with a crusty exterior and a heart of pure gold.
Glenn Tucker, one of Marco Island’s first and the longest serving city council members died Sunday after suffering a brain aneurysm. He was 65.
Friends and colleagues were still coming to terms with the news Sunday afternoon, which spread quickly through the town of 14,000 after Tucker’s wife, Bonnie, took him to the hospital that morning. He was taken off a respirator after doctors determined he had no brain activity, and he passed away before 5 p.m.
Though Tucker’s death was a shock, friends were at no loss for words to sum up what he meant to the community.
“He was generous to a fault,” said Dusty Rhodes, Tucker’s law partner. “He gave away money, he gave away time that people will never know about. It was typical and not unusual for a client to come into the office and be down and out and for Glenn to support them and not to charge them, and people never knew about it. I think he thought it was something he needed to do for people.”
Tucker and Rhodes started a law firm together in the ‘70s, soon after they met while representing opposing sides on a case. In 1997, Tucker was elected to serve on the then-new city council.
He had opposed incorporation, but ran to represent the 49 percent of island residents who felt the same way as him.
“I kind of tend to hope they’ll just forget about me,” Tucker said in a February 2008 interview before leaving office. “I didn’t run for council to have a legacy. When I ran for council it was because, cityhood having passed, I wanted to participate to see that it was running correctly.”
He was often a controversial figure, known for his no-nonsense style of decision making and his willingness to speak his mind, no matter the consequences.
It was something that cost the firm of Rhodes, Tucker and Garretson a lot of clients, said Rhodes, but when Tucker cast a vote, it was for what he believed to be the best interest of the young city.
“I think his legacy should be his honesty,” said Rhodes. “He always voted for what he thought was right for the people of Marco, despite what the vocal minority brought out.”
Marco City Council Chair Rob Popoff, who called Tucker a mentor, said Tucker’s candor was at the same time a blessing to those who knew him privately.
“He was extremely, extremely honest and frank with people,” said Popoff. “I think that’s the reason he had so many friends, because you never questioned where you stood with him.”
Former Marco Island City Manager Bill Moss saw the city grow up through the same period as Tucker. Tucker ran into 10-year term limits just a few months after Moss left Marco Island for the city of Naples.
Tucker was on the committee that initiated the search for a city manager — and liked to point out that he actually voted against hiring Moss. But the two developed a fondness for each other that became evident as both prepared to leave their respective positions at the end of 2007.
“Over the years, I’ve come to think Mr. Moss is the best you can find,” Tucker said in a November 2007 interview after Moss was hired as the Naples city manager.
Moss said Tucker’s fingerprint is all over the city, from the creation of the Marco Island YMCA to his work as legal counsel for the Marco Island Association of Realtors.
“So much of what we see today is part of the leadership and intellectual capabilities he was able to share with his colleagues on city council,” said Moss.
One of Tucker’s closest friends and a fellow attorney, Craig Woodward, said Tucker leaves behind a trail of kindnesses, some small, some monumental and some that may never be known by the wider world. He took people to the doctor when they needed it, even supported some people by putting them up in a condo rent-free while they got back on their feet.
“He never took any praise for it or publicly mentioned it,” said Woodward. “He was the kind of guy who had a hard time saying ‘no’ to anybody.”
Those people know who they are, though, said Rhodes. Though Tucker did not have any children of his own, there are scores of children on Marco Island who Tucker supported with guidance, money and love when they needed it.
“He’s always bent over backwards for children,” said Rhodes. “There are some pretty prominent people on Marco Island that Glenn Tucker stayed up many nights with helping them through situations.”
Wife Bonnie Tucker announced visitations scheduled 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday at Hodges-Josberger Funeral Home, 577 Elkcam Circle, Marco Island.
Services are to be held 4:30 p.m. Friday at Marco Presbyterian Church, 875 West Elkcam Circle.