Ben Tucker remembered as musician, businessman, volunteer - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Ben Tucker remembered as musician, businessman, volunteer

Ben Tucker Ben Tucker
Ben Tucker Ben Tucker

Jazz musician Ben Tucker's friends and family are remembering his long and rich life. Tucker touched people across the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire, and the nation with his music.

Tucker died Tuesday when the golf cart his was driving across the former race track on Wilmington Island was struck by a car driven by 52-year-old Texas man Robert Martin. Martin has been charged with vehicular homicide, racing and reckless driving.

Tuesday night, E. Larry McDuffie remembered Tucker a mentor in the radio business.

"Mr. Tucker was full of heart. And his heart was as big as all outdoors," he said.  "He wanted everybody to succeed. Therefore, if you worked at his station, you had to dot the I's and cross the T's."

Pete Chaison volunteered with Tucker for First Tee of Savannah -- helping children have access to golf -- and learn new life skills for growing up.

"He was passionate about anything he did, whether it was music or children or nonprofits or golf," Chaison said.

He was a jazz purist. Just ask Teddy Adams -- who played with Tucker for more than 40 years.

"He liked playing the American songbook, the standards," he said. "There's a certain feel as a bass player, because, you know, the bass is the most conspicuous instrument on the bandstand. It's what keeps it together."

Tucker is largely crediting with putting Savannah's once-vibrant jazz scene -- which was crumbling in the 1970's -- back together.  

Adams just played with Tucker a few Sundays ago.

'Oh Happy Day,' 'Just a Closer Walk with Thee,' and Duke Ellington's 'Come Sunday' ended the set.

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Savannah jazz legend Ben Tucker

See slideshows and previous stories about Savannah jazz legend Ben Tucker.

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