By Barbara White
Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God in Christ recently celebrated the life of their music director William Jeffery Tucker.
Jeff, as he was fondly called, was one of the heartbeats of Holy Redeemer COGIC. He was there since its inception.
Tucker was known all over the country for his love of God and his gifted talents as a musician. At his church home, Holy Redeemer, he held every position there was for a member to hold, nothing was to good for him to do in God’s House. But his passion was music, gospel music.
Under the tutelage of Holy Redeemer’s music minister Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter, Tucker went on to become a composer, with many recordings, inspiring thousands with his brand and style of music. He was known as selfless.
During his home-going services, Daniels-Carter shared how she first met Jeff. She said he would tag behind her asking her to teach him how to play the different instruments in the church band. After talking to his mother and feeling her trust, Valerie took Jeff under her wing as her protégé.
The two worked together for more than 35 years. Valerie said Jeff never disappointed her; he was loyal and was always ready and able to praise God through music.
“There was nothing I could ask him to do that he wouldn’t do,” she said. “I taught him everything I know about music.”
During his services, there were many accolades given to Jeff along with many stories of special moments that people had shared with him throughout his life.
One of Tucker’s friends said her heart was broken, as she shared how she and he worked with musicians all over the city and the nation. She said sometimes they would have spats and wouldn’t speak to each other for a couple weeks. But even a feud wouldn’t break the bond that you two shared. She said if anything were to happen to one of you, you would show up for each other no matter what.
We found out that you were instrumental in finding the first church home for Holy Redeemer and that you were one of the eight founding members of the new church. It was there that your wings and love for gospel music really begin to blossom.
Everyone was touched and inspired when all the church choirs sang Jeff a special song. Often through misty eyes, the choir sang several of the songs that Tucker composed as well as his favorite songs.
When Tony Neal and Shawn Brooks sang one of Tucker’s songs, the entire church erupted as the Holy Ghost filled the sanctuary.
Bishop Sedgwick Daniels performed the eulogy, as he shared stories of Jeff getting him in trouble, bossing him around and feeding him good food. He also talked about how Jeff was so committed to the Lord.
“Jeff wasn’t the kind of person filled with confusion and he was not a difficult person to love,” Bishop Daniels said.
Maestro William Jeffery Tucker’s party and home-going celebration was fit for a king.
Tucker leaves to cherish his memories: his aunt Missionary Jessie Lewis, Jonathon Lewis, a beloved friend, Vanessa Kirkendoll, his church family and a host of family and friends.
August 19, 2012 //
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