Memories of Tucci

Regis Tucci and Sam Kilman. Photo courtesy of GJ Mole.

Photo of Regis Tucci and Sam Kilman courtesy of GJ Mole.

A week ago I heard the sad news that one of my favorite professors, Regis Tucci, had passed away in his home of natural causes. Whenever I hear someone has passed from natural causes, I automatically think it was an elderly person. What death from natural causes actually means is that there are no known answers as to why a person has passed, they just did.
After the initial shock and lack of answers, I began to wonder how to possibly grieve. I’ve survived the deaths of many around me; however, grieving for a person is just as specialized as the individual whom has passed away.
I lit an incense and began to cry; but, then it occurred to me that the best way to grieve is to remember the individual, in this case Professor Tucci, as he was when he was alive rather than how he died. I could almost hear his voice telling me that.

As a communications professor, Tucci taught that one should take a stand in life. If a student couldn’t take a stand on anything and had to ask what to write, the worst suggestion a student could possibly get from Tucci was to write an essay about “what’s more important, the message or the messenger?” Which in my opinion, are both equally important; thus, the cursed paper would turn into a catch-22 if one gave it too much thought.

Tucci would offer his take on a subject as encouragement if one was willing to take a stand, he had the ability to intelligently perceive different angles to try and infuse the students argument; thus, producing strong opinions even among the most unsure of students.

Tucci was a very nice, caring and methodical man. I will never forget the day I ran into him near the library when I was on my way to his Reality TV class. “Let’s walk together,” he said. He noticed I was walking in the grass and stated “we should always walk on the sidewalks.” So, we walked to class together on the sidewalk. That day in class, I was sideswiped when he stated that he believed God intended for mankind to sleep at least until noon. Tucci was the source of many smiles for many years, and I am fortunate enough to claim a few of those smiles for myself, what a gift it is to have known him.

My heartfelt sympathy goes to those he left behind, relatives, and his fiancee whom Tucci was crazy about.

It’s unfortunate I will not make it to his memorial service; however, I do not need to attend to know that the world has lost a great man. I do hope to read more blogs written in his honor.

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3 comments
  1. Mike D said:

    Thanks for the great words about Regis. I met him in the fall of 1987 as a non-trad freshman at Wayne State College. As a 21 year old with little direction in life, he was a big reason for staying in school and getting an education, as he was pretty non-traditional himself. I feel we became pretty good friends, but everyone felt like that, because it was just his way. There is a whole generation of students in the Nebraska area who feel as you do, and will miss him also.

  2. Anonymous said:

    Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for writing such a beautiful blog about Regis. As I was reading your description of him, I could hear him say that God wanted people to sleep until noon. This is such a sad time, but reading your blog has made me smile and remember the funny things that he would say. He loved you guys as if you were his family. He always told me stories about his classes and what great projects his students were working on in the class. He would love to hear all the success stories of the graduates, and I’m sure he will be watching over everyone.

    Candy (his fiancee)

    • Hello Candy! What an honor it is to have you grace my blog. I’m grateful I was able to help bring a smile to your face during this difficult time. Tucci was a great man, very caring. I actually took the photograph of him you see here and he didn’t even hesitate to let me take it, which was highly unusual, I’m so glad he did.

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