Verna I. Tucker

Verna I. TuckerVerna Iris Tucker, age 107, of Ridgecrest joined our heavenly Father on April 30, 2020, passing peacefully from natural causes at the home of her primary caregivers — daughter, Sonja and her husband Bill Giuliani. She also received care regularly from her loving grandchildren, Kathy Seals and Deron Giuliani.

Verna was born to parents Claude and Annie Holland from Hilo, Missouri on February 6, 1913. Verna was the eldest daughter of eight children and was known for her determination, compassion, and Missouri grit. She was raised in a rural community, joyfully assisting her mother with duties at the family-owned general store and post office. Verna thrived academically at the local one-room school from the first through eighth grade.

To complete her first year of high school, she boarded for one year in a town 25 miles from her home. Due to distance and financial constraints, she returned home unable to complete her high school education. Verna resolved to someday reach that goal: In 1955, while raising a family and working full-time in China Lake, she enrolled in night adult education through Bakersfield City College’s extension program in Ridgecrest, attaining her high school diploma in 1960.

She married her one and only love, the late David Wesley Tucker, in 1933, subsequently having three children. The family moved from Missouri to Vallejo, CA, during World War II, in order to assist in the war effort and to make better lives for themselves. In 1947, David transferred from Mare Island to China Lake Naval Weapons Center, where he was the electro-plater for the machine shop department. He and his country/western band, Wes Tucker and the Westernaires, were well known in the area.

Verna worked several years for the China Lake and Ridgecrest Post Offices before accepting a position in the Supply Department at the Naval Weapons Center in 1953. Finishing her government service in 1971, Verna enjoyed an incredible 49 years of retirement, remaining in Ridgecrest, CA, for the duration. Upon retirement, she continued to offer loving guidance to her children and grandchildren. With her nurturing and caring nature, she provided home-cooked meals every weekday at lunchtime for the following 25 years to family members still working in the area. Everyone knew, if you could come to nana’s between 11:00am and 1:00pm, a hot lunch would be waiting for you.

Verna always looked for the good in people and, as a result, brought out the very best in them. She truly loved the desert and all of its inherent beauty. Verna was also a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan, no doubt a direct result of her loyalty to the great state of Missouri from which she was born. In addition, Verna was a quilter extraordinaire, providing innumerable quilts to her loving family; was an avid gardener, offering seasonal home-grown tomatoes and other perfectly grown vegetables to her family and friends in the neighborhood; and groomed beautiful rose bushes in her front garden, regularly clipping select roses for anyone who asked.

She is survived by two of her three children, son, James Tucker and his wife, Gail, of Sparks, NV, and youngest daughter, Sonja, and her husband, Bill Giuliani, of Ridgecrest, CA. Verna was preceded in death by her husband of 67 years, David Wesley Tucker; her oldest daughter, Madge Bryant, wife of Kenneth Bryant, of Ridgecrest; her oldest grandson, Rick Bryant; and all of her siblings. She is also survived by her 11 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and the many nieces and nephews throughout the country.

Due to the State of California’s COVID-19 restrictions, a small private funeral, officiated by Father James Dowds, was held at Holland & Lyon’s chapel.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice.

— Submitted by the family of Verna Tucker

Story First Published: 2020-05-08