Levi Livermore Tucker

LEVI LIVERMORE TUCKER, late superintendent and president of the Kansas Wesleyan Business College of Salina, devoted practically his entire life to the training of young men and women for business. Fully forty years were given to that profession, and few men accomplished a more satisfying aggregate of results in this field than Professor Tucker.

He was of New England birth and ancestry. The farm in Orange County, Vermont, where he was born December 10, 1853, was also the birthplace of his father, Levi Livermore Tucker, Sr., and the house that thus served as a birthplace to these two generations was also the birthplace of Professor Tucker's oldest living child. Mr. Tucker's mother was Betty Putnam Carleton, also a native of Vermont.

His early education Mr. Tucker acquired in the Vermont Conference Seminary at Newbury, where he was graduated with the class of 1874 at the age of twenty-one. He afterwards took a two years' course in the Troy Business College of Troy, New York, and for one year taught in the Troy Conference Business College at Courtney, Vermont. Following that came three years spent as principal of the Schofield Business College of Providence, Rhode Island. For fourteen years Mr. Tucker was principal of the New Jersey Business College at Newark, then for one year had charge of the office of a leather factory at Newark, and for ten years was professor of the commercial branches in Mount Union College of Alliance Ohio. After two years at Tharp University in Louisville, Kentucky, Mr. Tucker was called in 1913 to become president of the Kansas Wesleyan Business College at Salina. Here he accomplished much in reorganizing and improving the courses of study and enhancing the general prestige of this excellent school. Mr. Tucker was a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

He was twice married. On May 7, 1877, he married Miss Nettie L. Bryant who was born in New Hampshire, September 23, 1857, and died July 19, 1911. Two children survive from this union: Mildred Livermore, who was born in the same house as her father on August 19, 1883; and Joyce Johnston, born January 13, 1892.

On June 17, 1913, Mr. Tucker married Mary B. Weller Judd, who with her brother L. S. Weller was constantly associated with Mr. Tueker in the management of the Kansas Wesleyan Business College. Mrs. Tucker is now at the head of the school through the action of the Board of Trustees of the University and has the loyal support of the faculty and student body.

Mr. Tucker had been in failing health for two years and was compelled to be away from college work many months at a time. Death came very unexpectedly March 30, 1917. Funeral services were held at the Presbyterian Church April 1, 1917, and he was laid to rest in Gypsum Hill Cemetery at Salina. The services were in charge of Dr. Alexander G. Bennett pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Salina, and Dr. John H. Harmon, president of the Kansas Wesleyan University, of which the business college is a department. Pastors from every Protestant church in the city unless otherwise detained were in attendance and took part in the services.

The Northwest Kansas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was in session in Ellsworth at the time of Professor Tucker's death. A general sigh of regret swept the great audience as Rev. Dr. Harmon read the message aloud. It is appropriate to qnote the following resolution which was read and adopted by the Conference:

"Whereas, the sad word of the death of Professor L. L. Tucker has reached the Conference, telling of the passing of a devoted Christian man after a lingering illness, the affliction borne with fortitude and faith, a true educator who with his devoted Christian wife has been at the head of the Kansas Wesleyan Business College for four years doing a work often endorsed by this Conference for its efficiency and idealism; therefore be it

"Resolved, that we express the sincere sympathy of the Conference to Mrs. Tucker in her sorrow and declare again our loyal support to the institution deprived of its administrative head."

Professor Tucker was a man of sterling character, of keen insight and of unconquerable faith. Marked initiative, judgment and leadership were his from early boyhood. At nine years of age his father entrusted him with the choice and purchase of a horse and colt. Already he had been championing the cause of his weaker schoolmates.

He established his reputation as a teacher and disciplinarian in the complete mastery of his first school, known as the most difficult to control in that section of the state. Clean, strong manhood and womanhood in business especially appealed to Mr. Tucker, and he felt that the greatest investment of his life was in the training of commercial students for positions of honor and trust. Thousands of Mr. Tucker's graduates caught his spirit and have been blessed through this decision. Mr. Tucker was a devout Christian and church worker. Many times while in Newark he filled the pulpit as supply pastor during the absence of the regular pastors in charge. While there he was teacher trainer for fourteen churches, having under his charge every week from two hundred to four hundred Sabbath school teachers, superintendents, and pastors. Mr. Tucker was an able accountant, a leader among commercial men and was recognized while in New Jersey as the most beautiful penman in the state. He was often sought after by commercial text book companies for the preparation or revision of their text books.

Friends and graduates, with those who loved him longest and best, mourn his loss and sorrow that they shall not see his pleasant smile or grasp his friendly hand again. He has gone, but he has left behind him a record of work well done, of life's great end accomplished, a public and private record of faithfulness and devotion to duty that is a lasting inspiration and benediction.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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