Tucker, Mary

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                                 By Margery MacRae

Mary Tucker, of White Rapids, and now residing at Mount St. Joseph in Chatham, celebrated her 90 birthday on August 5. Born in Boston, MA., in 1905, Tucker's mother passed away when she was just a baby, leaving an older sister, Elizabeth for their father to care for. Before long, Tucker's father found himself unable to care for his children and was forced to place his two young daughters in an orphanage. "I was young, but I remember the orphanage and how frightened I was of the nuns. My sister ran away one day, but she was found by someone who took her home and gave her a good home," the elderly lady recalled in an interview in Chatham. As for Tucker, she was adopted by Wilfred and Bridget Gillis who were from P.E.I. but had gone to Boston to work. A few years later, Bridget came home to N.B. to care for her sick mother, and the family remained here. .

At 14 years of age, she married Stanley Tucker, and the couple raised a family of 10: Niola (Mrs. Burton Dunn), Bernice (Mrs. Vincent Duffy), Mary Tucker, Edison, Roy, Robina Underhill, Joseph, Tony, Jermone (deceased); Dolores (Mrs. Norman Sturgeon), and Ellery. She has 45 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Much to Tucker's disappointment, her sister, whom she met just once in 1956, did not want to keep in touch. "I had had a couple of letters from her before that, but she was brought up in a wealthy home, and she seemed to be mad at our father for not keeping us together." As for me, I never saw my father again, but I heard from him after I was married. He married again and had two more daughters, Rose and Helen, who are living in the United States," Tucker recalled. "I know that my sister didn't marry until she was 80."

"I remember attending the little one-room school in White Rapids, but I can just remember one teacher, Verna Clark." One day a trustee, John Williams, came to our school and told me I was the best reader and writer in the school. I'll always remember that," she laughed.

Five years ago Tucker came to live at the Mount where she says she settled in 'just like home!’ "I love it here, and everyone is just like family. My family is good too, and they visit me quite a lot." Although Tucker's vision is not so good any more, which makes it difficult for her to read or watch TV, she dearly loves to play bingo.

Because her legs have been giving her some problems, she is now confined to a wheelchair which made it impossible to visit her daughter Viola for her birthday party. "I enjoy some of the activities they have for us here, and I also pray a lot," she said. About 35 relatives and friends joined Tucker in the celebration of her birthday at the Mount. She was the recipient of many nice gifts as well as congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Chretian and Premier McKenna.

Source: Miramichi Leader – August 15, 1995

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