Grayson L. Tucker Jr., who served at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary for 22 years, as a faculty member in field education and later as dean, died Jan. 11 in Louisville at age 88.
Tucker was himself a graduate of Louisville seminary, earning a Master of Theology degree in 1956, and, served at the seminary from 1966 until his retirement in 1988. He was Professor Emeritus of Church Administration and Evangelism and Harrison Ray Anderson Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministry. He also served for 10 years as the seminary’s director of field education and for seven years as academic dean, all while teaching classes in church administration and evangelism.
Driven by a passion for justice, Tucker served as Executive Director of the Presbyterian Community Center in Louisville’s Smoketown neighborhood from 1962 to 1966, during the height of the U.S. civil rights movement. In 1962, while Tucker was serving as pastor for both Grace and Hope Presbyterian churches in Louisville, the two African-American churches combined and their community centers were merged to form the Presbyterian Community Center. He was inducted into the center’s Hall of Fame in 2007.
In later years, Tucker’s commitment to justice focused on equality and inclusivity for gay, lesbian, bisexual for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons.
In 1984, Tucker was named vice moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and he played a key role in persuading the denomination to locate its headquarters in Louisville. In 2000, at his request and as a matter of conscience, he was dismissed from the PC(USA). He subsequently became a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association and a member of the Thomas Jefferson Church of Louisville.
A native of Laurel, Miss., Tucker served as a meteorologist in the U.S. Army Air Force before coming to Louisville seminary. His first pastorate was at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Ky. He also served as pastor of Bardstown Road Presbyterian Church in Louisville.
He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1996.
He is survived by his wife, Catherine Breeden Tucker, who resides at the Episcopal Church Home, Louisville, Ky.; his sister Sarah Miller; his brother, Thornton Tucker; son, Cy Tucker; a daughter, Susan Saint-Lockhart; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A memorial service with reception will be held at Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16. Neurath-Schoppenhorst, Market Street, is handling arrangements.
Memorial gifts may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.