Actually, we all share in this loss. This past week, my longtime radio brother from a different mother, Skip Tucker, passed away suddenly.
It was one of my usual busy Wednesdays, with Zoom calls a plenty and projects to tackle when I came up for air to quickly check Facebook. There at the top of my feed was a note from Skip’s sister, Melody, that he had passed away. What? When? How? I couldn’t process it. It didn’t make sense. This had to be the worst attempt at a practical joke in history.
Just a few weeks ago, I had received a text from his girlfriend for the last two and a half years who had asked me to make a video for his upcoming 70th birthday. Oh, I was going to roast him. I had some really fun pictures from the past that I was definitely going to share. Then suddenly, I learned that Skip wasn’t going to reach his landmark birthday.
We met at my first-ever professional radio job at KQOT, a daytime radio station in Yakima, back in 1977. Skip was a part-timer, a “weekender” that lived up in Ellensburg. At one point, I was made program director for the radio station, which meant I never really stopped listening. One Saturday, I had the station on while Skip was being Skip and I heard the Debbie Boone song, “You light up my life.” 10 minutes later, I heard it again…and again. After Skip played it like four times in an hour, I called the hotline and said, “Skip, why are you playing that song so many times?” His response: “I really like it.”
That’s Skip on the far right (not politically)
This was back in Skip’s very religious days, that connected him with the equally religious disc jockey Ichabod Caine. Not only did he introduce me to Ichabod, who graciously offered to critique one of my airchecks (a recording I still have to this date), but we also did a road trip over to Seattle to visit Ichabod in the 1970s hey day of KJR. What I remember most about that visit was that we were in a studio when Ichabod knocked over a glass of water and, without missing a beat, yelled out, “Quick! Somebody get some fire!”
Skip and I stayed in touch as we went our separate ways in the radio world and beyond. He eventually found himself in Los Angeles where he spent the rest of his days living his dreams. He was a KFI “Eye in the Sky”, he did some acting, he eventually found his way into being a presenter for the Karrass Company, that taught people how to be better negotiators. I actually attended part of one in Seattle and it was amazing to see the confidence of this new-and-improved Skip Tucker who commanded the attention of the room. He even wrote a book on how to become a better negotiator which I bought from Amazon this past week. If it’s not one of your strengths and would like to improve your skills even for just day-to-day life stuff, here’s where you buy it.
Skip was also an avid diver. Not like in soccer, but as in the water. As you can see, when he wrapped up the negotiating stuff, he focused on the diving world and by the Facebook posts that followed his passing, you can see he made a lot of friends.
While knowing Skip for over 40 years, I also became pals with his sister, Melody, after meeting her at KOMO radio. She used to capture game highlights for the Husky broadcasts on Saturdays. We worked on a syndicated radio program together with Ruth Walsh for a while. In time, Melody became a lawyer.
Country music listeners might remember the radio personality Penni Coyne. That was Skip’s other sister.
I was a pall bearer for their parents, as each left this earth.
I’m not sure how long Skip’s website will remain up, but check it out before it comes down. It gives you a great idea of his comedic style. He called it his “House of Chaos.” Sometimes, I suppose, you could consider his life was a bit chaotic, but Skip wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Every week for I don’t know how many years, Skip would send out a weekly email on “Website Wednesday.” I even had a spot on my website for Skip’s Website of the Week. Here was the last edition of Skip’s Website Wednesday that I received on August 5th:
a subsidiary of Skip’s House of Chaos
(The 234,453rd Most Interesting Man in the World)
“From the Large Intestine of the Internets,
through the Sphincter of Electronic Mail,
peeing like a baby on a changing table
into the brisk digital wind…”
My gym just went bankrupt.
Who’s the quitter now?
Top of the Heap: The Perseid Meteor Shower and Other Skywatching Events This Month
The Most Beautiful Drives in America, According to Long-Haul Truckers
18 Times Barack Obama Was Unequivocally You (Thanks, Spidermonkey)
Who Are ‘America’s Frontline Doctors‘, the Pro-Trump, Pro-Hydroxychorioquine Weirdos Banned From Social Media?
The Most Fascinating Shark Discoveries Over the Last Decade (Thanks, Laura!)
12 Words With Very Different Meanings in the U.S. and the UK
Exploring the Solar System (Thanks, Jackpack!)
Robot Umpires in Baseball
A Non-Comprehensive List of Birds That Piss Me Off
Finger Tricks to Pull on Little Kids (not counting “pull this”)
The Coffee Kings of the Old West
Next-Level Beach Volleyball
10 (Mostly) Bloodless Horror Movies, for When You Wanna Be Scared, Not Unconscious
So many bad decisions
Every self-help book ever, boiled down to 11 simple rules
Skipnote: Website Wednesday is a by-request only mailing list. If, for any reason, you don’t want to receive it, simply reply to this email and let me know. No hard feelings. Now, on the other hand, if you know someone who you think might like getting WW every week, have them drop me a line.
Be safe out there! Try not to end up on YouTube.
– Skip ಠ_ಠ
Order a copy of my book,
How to Negotiate When You Hate Negotiating
paperback – http://bit.ly/skiptuckerpb
or e-book – http://bit.ly/skiptuckerkn
You might want to check out those archives for some really fun websites and articles.
Part of what makes it so hard to accept the fact that Skip no longer walks this earth is that we remained a part of each other’s lives all the way to the end. He was one of my small group of really, really good friends who didn’t keep track of when we talked last. Whenever we saw each other, we just picked up where we left off.
When Skip posted on his Facebook page a few weeks ago that he had a 12-hour cancer surgery, I shot him a text. He may have been much worse than he was letting on, but he wasn’t going to let me know it.
Once again, the “You Light Up My Life” gag reared it’s ugly head.
And through the modern convenience of the phone version of Scrabble, “Words with Friends”, we had connected several times for some pretty one-sided battles. Man, he just cleaned my clock in that game, with final scores like 421-180. Finally, a few weeks ago, I beat him. I didn’t know how, but now I think I do. He had other things on his mind.
We were playing again when all of a sudden Skip quit taking his turn. I’m going to leave that one right where it is.
It won’t happen right away, but in time, I’ll learn to speak of Skip in the past tense. For 43 of my 65 years, he’s just always been there and now, suddenly, without a whole lot of warning, he’s gone.
If you didn’t know Skip Tucker, I just wanted to make sure you met him on his way out.
Oh, and one more Skip story. One of his funniest gags occurred when he joined a Hunter family brunch and did the old “flaming wallet” gag. Yep, he pulled out his wallet, opened it up and a giant flame shot out, without warning. It tended to leave an impression.
If you’d like to get to know him even more, listen to the podcast I did with him several years ago. Too early for me, but in time, I’ll be able to enjoy it again and remember back to that conversation like it was yesterday.
I will always remember his voice, those looks and the big man hugs we’d exchange every time we got near each other.
Dude, you did this life thing really, really right. Thanks for being a friend. Now, enjoy the time off, Skip.