Rush Remembers Long Time Serving Staffer
CHICAGO — Congressman Bobby L. Rush remembers the life and legacy of a dear friend and staffer of many years, Ms. Judy Tucker former Congressional Aide to Congressman Rush and Metcalfe and pioneer on behalf of women in politics.
Judy Tucker, former aide to the late Congressman Ralph Metcalfe and long time director of constituent services for Congressman Bobby Rush has died. She was 69 years old.
As a young woman Tucker dedicated her life to public service and helping people. She is renowned for her skills in cutting through government red tape to help others navigate the federal bureaucracy. For two decades Tucker helped thousands of Rush’s constituents solve problems with public utilities, city government, housing, social security, the U.S. Postal Service, and the I.R.S. She was responsible for the teaching of Grant Writing to Social Service Agencies and helped young people gain acceptance to our nation’s Military Academies. She made this work her personal mission.
Simply put Judy Tucker knew who to call and what to say to them to get things done.”
“I have lost a dear friend and Chicago has lost a true public servant.” Congressman Rush said. “Judy demonstrated both kindness and strength to everyone who walked into our offices. She welcomed people into her home, fed people when they were hungry, arranged care when they were sick and did this all with grace and a smile. She was one of the most giving people I have ever known.”
Tucker began her career in politics and public service in 1972 working as an intern and later as a congressional staffer to the late Congressman Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr. At the time African-American women had few opportunities on Capitol Hill. But Tucker’s tough no-nonsense approach helped her successfully navigate the choppy waters of Chicago and Washington politics.
At the time Congressman Metcalfe wrote about his young intern: “of all the interns that have been assigned to me, I rate Mrs. Judy Tucker as one of the most conscientious, concerned and apt students. Mrs. Tucker is punctual, dependable and cooperative. She possesses a rare quality.”
The Metcalfe family became a second family for Tucker and she remained close friends with Metcalfe, his wife and children throughout her life.
According to Rush “Judy learned the art and science of governance and politics from the best, the late Ralph Metcalfe. She passed on what she knew to countless interns and young people paving the way for their careers in politics and public service.”
Her passion for public service would take her to work for the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations under director Rachel R. Ridley. She also worked for the late Alderman Tyrone Kenner as the Secretary of City Council Committee on Public Utilities and later as the secretary for the Finance Committee. She went on to work for Commissioner Jerry Butler.
In 1987 then Alderman Bobby Rush tapped Tucker understanding the importance of her local and national experience to his own future political aspirations. Tucker worked for Rush until her retirement from congressional service in 2010.
A child of the Great Migration, Tucker was born in Cincinnati Ohio on September 1, 1943. She was the eldest of four children born to Dorothy and Lovell Ellis. Mr. Ellis worked as a custodian and security guard and Mrs. Ellis worked in a factory. In 1955 The Ellis’ moved to the Chicago area and bought their first home in Markham, Illinois where Tucker and her siblings grew up.
Judy attended Thornton Township high school and one of her first jobs as a young woman was that of a gift wrapper at Spiegel's. She married Elishious Tucker in 1972. Together they raised and educated 5 children. The Tucker family moved to Chicago and in 1983 bought a home in the Chatham community that was in need of remodeling. For the last 29 years Judy and Lish spent much of their spare time lovingly transforming the house and its gardens into their own personal “Better Homes and Gardens Dream House”.
Judy’s flowers bloomed but it was her vegetable garden that made her famous among her friends and co-workers.
“We would wait for the peppers, collard greens, and tomatoes to appear in the district office.” Rush said. “These vegetables were a true expression of Judy’s personality. She planted them, watered them, nurtured and fed them and then sent them out into the world for others to share”
Tucker was an active member and an usher at the Miracle House of Prayer formerly known as the Southwestern Missionary Baptist Church at 8638 S. Michigan. Funeral Services will be held at the church on Saturday at 10:30 a.m., with a wake and breakfast from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
Visitation is Friday January 25th at the W.W. Holt Funeral Home 175 W. 159th Street, Harvey, Illinois from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Tucker is survived by her husband Elishious, children Harriet Pitts, William Pitts, Aron Pitts, Michael Pitts and Dottie Hall; two siblings Lydia Christian and Cedric Ellis. Her brother Lovell Ellis Jr. preceded her in death. In addition there are 18 grandchildren, seven great grand children and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Ms. Judy Tucker