A. R. Tucker

From Glenn Philipps, The Making of a Christian College: Caribbean Union College 1927-1977 (Maracas Valley, Trinidad: College Press, 1977).

Tucker, Arthur R. (1897–1991) and Florence (Lunsford) (1899–1988)

By Glenn O. Phillips

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Glenn O. Phillips, Ph.D. (Howard University, Washington, D.C.), although retired, is actively writing, researching, lecturing, and publishing. He was a professor at Morgan State University, Howard University, and the University of the Southern Caribbean. He has authored and published numerous articles, book reviews, and books, including “The African Diaspora Experience,” “Singing in a Strange Land: The History of the Hanson Place Church,” “African American Leaders of Maryland,” and “The Caribbean Basin Initiative.”

First Published: December 20, 2020

Arthur Randolph Tucker was a leading missionary educator and administrator. He was the sixth principal and first president of Caribbean Union College (now the University of the Southern Caribbean), serving between 1944 and 1950 in Trinidad.1 Arthur and his wife Florence, who was a teacher, served in the United States, Japan, Korea, and Trinidad.

Early Life

Arthur Tucker was born on August 26, 1897 in Marchfield, Oregon and grew up in the city of Portland where he attended primary and high school. He excelled in his early studies and at thirteen years was baptized into the Adventist faith. He desired to continue his education and attended Laurelwood Junior College and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at Walla Walla College at College Place, Washington state. He married Florence Lunsford of Astoria, Oregon on September 21, 1921 and adopted, their daughter, Gayle within four months of their marriage on January 11, 1922.2

Florence Tucker attended the Columbia Academy in Battle Ground, Washington where her husband was principal. She also the same colleges as her husband and like him, entered the teaching profession. Florence was born on June 23, 1899 in Vancouver, Washington. She excelled in her early studies and like her husband became a teacher.

Ministry

Five years after their marriage the Tuckers accepted a call to serve as missionaries in Far East Division at the Mission school in Soonan, Chosen (Seoul, Korea) and in Japan from 1927-1935. Florence’s special interest and training were in the fields of Art and Music. In the summer of 1935, she studied Art in Paris, France. The Tuckers were also talented linguists and became proficient in Japanese so that they taught students in Japanese during their tenure in the Far East. For five and a half years they worked at the Mission School at Soonan, Chosen (Korea). According to Arthur Tucker’s service record, he had studied Japanese for over seven years. Florence Tucker taught both art and music as well as created very successful choirs and orchestras at those schools.3

On return to the United States, the Tuckers taught and lead out at the Columbia Academy in Washington state from 1937 to1939. Next, they served as principal and teachers at the Mt. Ellis Academy in Bozeman, Montana from 1940 to 19444 before requesting to return to the mission field and agreed to take up the leadership position at Caribbean Union College.

Arthur and Florence Tucker arrived at Caribbean Union College in Trinidad in 1944,5 the last full year of World War II to a campus that had undergone many hardships and challenges from the war but had great potential for expanding its academic offerings to the youth of the eastern Caribbean.

Eric John Murray in his recounting of the Tuckers impact on that campus wrote: “During the first years of the Tucker leadership, the college enrollment climbed to over one hundred students, there were thirteen college faculty members with degrees from a wide range of schools and the college library had a collection of approximately 3,200 volumes.6 The Tuckers also established the Caribbean Training College Alumni Association Day. During 1947 the institution curriculum was granted Junior College status offering for the first time in the school’s history two year courses in Theology, Teacher-Training, Business, and Secretarial Science.7 The Tuckers also embarked on a strong recruitment program covering all of the eastern Caribbean. So successful were their overall leadership that Robert H. Pierson, the Caribbean Union Conference president and chairperson of the college’s Board of Trustees, wrote to the Tuckers after they left the college in 1950: “Well folks, Caribbean Training College does not seem the same with the Tuckers gone…. I am glad that you could see the first fruits of your labors … before you had to leave.” 8

Leaving their service at Caribbean Union College did not mean the end of their service to the Church. In the following years the Tuckers continued to serve in various places, including in the Pacific, when Arthur Tucker was appointed principal of the Hawaiian Mission Academy, established in 1915 in Honolulu. They also served in the Weslaco Texas Public School District for eleven years before returning to the American northwest where Florence’s final teaching services were given at the Wemme Adventist School in Oregon before retiring in 1970.9

Final Years and Contribution

Arthur and Florence Tucker taught and held educational leadership positions for over forty–five years in the American northwest and southwest, the Pacific, and the Caribbean, leading hundreds of Adventist youth to greater service for their Church. Florence Indiana Lunsford Tucker died on May 20, 1988. Arthur Tucker later married Helen Gresham and passed to his rest on December 27, 1991 in Portland, Oregon.10

Arthur and Florence Tucker were among the most impressive educators who served in the Far East Division of Seventh-day Adventists, specifically in Japan and Korea, before coming to the Inter-American Division and enlivening the expansion of tertiary Adventist education across the eastern Caribbean. The Tuckers began their educational teaching careers in the Adventist schools in the American northwest before entering the mission field. The Tuckers’ educational advocacy in the eastern Caribbean attracted a wider range and larger numbers of students to attend the college. They encouraged the expansion of the Caribbean Union College’s curriculum so that the institution offered the first junior college degrees after almost two decades of operating in this region.

Sources

Murray, Eric John. The History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trinidad and Tobago, 1891-1981. Maracas Valley, Trinidad: The College Press, 1981.

Robert H. Pierson to Arthur R. Tucker, January 8, 1950. Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

Phillips, Glenn O. The Making of a Christian College, Caribbean Union College, 1927-1977. Maracas Valley, Trinidad: The College Press, 1977.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C., Takoma Park: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1928.

“Tucker, Arthur R.,” obituary. North Pacific Union Conference Gleaner, March 16, 1992.

“Tucker, Arthur R. and Florence Lunsford Tucker.” General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Personal Information Questionnaire, 1935. Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

“Tucker, Florence Indiana,” obituary. North Pacific Union Gleaner, August 1, 1988.

Notes

  1. Glenn O. Phillips, The Making of a Christian College, Caribbean Union College, 1927-1977 (Maracas Valley, Trinidad: The College Press, 1977), 71, 45, 46; Eric John Murray, The History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Trinidad and Tobago, 1891-1981 (Maracas Valley, Trinidad: The College Press, 1981), 85, 172.

  2. “Tucker, Arthur R. and Florence Lunsford Tucker,” General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Personal Information Questionnaire, 1935, Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

  3. Ibid.

  4. “Tucker, Florence Indiana,” obituary, North Pacific Union Gleaner, August 1, 1988, 14.

  5. “Tucker, Arthur R. and Florence Lunsford Tucker,” General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Personal Information Questionnaire, 1935.

  6. “Tucker, Florence Indiana,” obituary; Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C., Takoma Park: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1928), 166.

  7. Murray, 85, 172.

  8. Robert H. Pierson to Arthur R. Tucker, January 8, 1950, Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

  9. “Tucker, Florence Indiana,” obituary.

  10. “Tucker, Arthur R.,” obituary, North Pacific Union Conference Gleaner, March 16, 1992, 25.

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Phillips, Glenn O. "Tucker, Arthur R. (1897–1991) and Florence (Lunsford) (1899–1988)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 20, 2020. Accessed April 18, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8C74.

Phillips, Glenn O. "Tucker, Arthur R. (1897–1991) and Florence (Lunsford) (1899–1988)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 20, 2020. Date of access April 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8C74.

Phillips, Glenn O. (2020, December 20). Tucker, Arthur R. (1897–1991) and Florence (Lunsford) (1899–1988). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved April 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8C74.