Carolyn Strunk Tucker, 82, was finally released from the nightmare of dementia on November 7, 2016. Preceded in death by her mother Ruby Reid Strunk, father Gilbert Strunk, brother Thomas Strunk, husband Thomas Tucker, and daughter Julie Ellen Williamson, she is survived by brother James Strunk, son Brian Tucker, daughter Sara and son-in-law Jeffrey Wellman, son Bruce Tucker, and son-in-law David Williamson, as well as grandchildren Ben (wife Kelly) Williamson, Erin Williamson, Kathryn Tucker, Jennifer Tucker (partner Matt Johnston), and great-granddaughter Kahlor Johnston.
Born December 10, 1933 in Evansville IN, she was soon followed by two brothers. The family moved to Glen Ellyn, IL, where as a teenager playing flute in the Glenbard high school band she started dating a clarinet player two years her senior. After she graduated high school she worked two jobs to buy Tommy a car so he could come home on holidays to see her. In June 1953 they married, and took as their honeymoon the drive to Oak Ridge where Tommy had taken a job with Union Carbide.
In her new town, Carolyn saw instances of unjust attitudes and behaviors toward some of her friends, and fought against racism and intolerance. She wrote letters of protest to local merchants. She joined the board of the Committee for Community Relations, and worked to integrate the Oak Ridge schools. She later started one of the first integrated Girl Scout Troops.
While raising four children of her own, she also found time to help others, including a less fortunate family in a nearby town, and a runaway teenager whom she fostered. She also helped raise two of her grandchildren after her daughter Julie died.
Carolyn had many diverse interests. She shared with Tommy a love for classical music throughout her life, and took classical guitar lessons in her 70s. She also enjoyed fabric crafts and sewing, often teaching her daughters and grandchildren while she worked.
She studied botany at UT and then worked as a technician in the Environmental Sciences division at ORNL in order to help put her children through college.
She and Tommy were life-long Do-It-Yourselfers, often using family labor as well. From painting and remodeling to building a cabin in the Smokies she was heavily involved with construction; all while keeping the indentured servants in line and fed.
Carolyn loved travel, beginning when her father took his family on car-camping trips out west. She formed a great love for the Southwest landscapes, native peoples, and their art. She continued car-camping all her life, taking her last trip west at the age of 80.
Online messages may be left for the family at
In lieu of flowers, Carolyn would encourage donations to Death with Dignity or any land conservancy agency. The family will be hosting a memorial gathering at Calhoun's Oak Ridge Sunday November 13 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Services entrusted to Martin Oak Ridge Funeral Home 865-483-4341