Worth Sharing

A Beautiful Tribute

Janet Barber Tuck
December 7, 1931 – April 16, 2017
Dear Janet,
I know you’re feeling bad because you can’t remember things. Nothing quite connects together anymore, and you can tell that something just isn’t right. Every morning you wake up away from home, but you don’t remember having travelled anywhere. Your mom and dad aren’t there to greet you, no sisters picking on each other. There are nice people there who know you and love you though, but who are they? You’re still a young girl, but who is that old woman in the mirror? You were always so strong and steady and capable, and could take whatever had stopped working and set it right again. Now you wonder what you did wrong to cause this to happen. Please don’t feel at fault. Time has just decided to kick up a storm, swirling around and backwards and tangling events instead of flowing straight forward as it used to, and we can’t blame ourselves for what time does, right? The good news is that because of these twists in time, I’m able to tell you something that you will like to hear. I can tell you about your future. Everything turns out fine. You will grow up to be a beautiful woman and an extraordinary artist who will paint and paint and sculpt and build, simply because that’s what you do. You will be a very unusual example of someone so extremely creative and at the same time deeply practical. You will dream up new things that the world needs, and with your own hands build them into something beautiful. You’ll do that so deftly, it will seem as if you had mastered the skill years ago, even though you hadn’t a clue how to go about it the day before. As you go through life this way, you’ll shower the world with your gifts. Not just material gifts, but as the gift of showing to others how to use their creativity, guiding and inspiring them on their own paths. One day as you are leaving a party, a man named Ed who hadn’t had a chance to introduce himself will ask for your phone number. He’ll be taken with your talent, your independence, and your sweet and steady nature. You’ll marry three months later and he’ll be your husband for 60 years. As you have done for so many others, you’ll help Ed change the world. As newlyweds, you and Ed will move to the coast of Northern California and build a house with your own hands. At the same time, Ed will start his first company and you’ll have a daughter Jean who will crawl around on the construction site and absorb from her parents the knowledge of how things are put together and how problems are solved. She’ll continue to glean knowledge this way from every hug and kiss you give, and every stroke you make with your paint brush. Some of that knowledge and love will be packaged up as a little bit of magic that you and Ed and Jean will then pass on to your second daughter Ann. You’ll be a wonderful mother. You will be close to your daughters and they will love you dearly, just like you love your mother. Your daughters will grow up to be mothers too, and will strive to do the job as well as you did but never quite master the way you did it with infinite patience and caring while standing strong and never losing your cool. You’ll have five grandchildren: Alec, Neil, Gram, Luke and Jill. They’ll adore their Grammy just like you love yours, and whenever they come visit you they will end up helping you with a sculpture, picking lemons from a tree for lemonade, or sewing a pocket on the front of a dress that was much needed for squirreling away treasures. When you grow old and need some help for the first time in your life, your family will come and work together, just like one of your well-designed creations. Jean and her kids will take care of you and Ed, and her husband will even make delicious things for you to eat. All of this will happen because of the magic that you created when you formed this family, that formed from magic your mother and grandmother created before you. And that magic will then be passed on through the ages even after everyone has forgotten us and no matter what time decides to do. Janet Barber Tuck, age 85, died on Sunday, April 16th, 2017. She had Alzheimer’s disease. Born December 7th, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois, she lived in Aurora and Oswego, IL, El Granada, CA, Darien, CT, Cordova, TN, Westport, CT, Bellevue, WA, West Covina, CA, and Waxhaw, NC. She graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, Illinois, and was the art director of the Lester Jacobs Advertising Agency. Janet went on to practice fine art full time, winning several first-place awards for her work. You may have seen some of her public sculpture works, such as the “Spirit of Freedom” in Montclair, while driving around Los Angeles. Examples of her work can be found at: Janet is survived by her husband Edward Tuck, daughter Jean McGregor (Michael) and grandsons Alec, Neil, and Gram McGregor of Waxhaw, NC, daughter Ann Tuck (Dan Baden) and grandchildren Luke and Jill Baden of Accra, Ghana.

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 19 to Apr. 28, 2017