The Citadel Class of 1970
From Nelsen Funeral Home
May 17, 1948- May 3, 2015
Henry Jones Pierce, Jr., ever called by his nickname, Tucker, passed away May 3, 2015. He is survived by Jane, his wife of 32 years, daughter, Hilary (24), and son, Robert (20); his mother, Margaret (Peggy) Pierce of Charlotte, North Carolina; sister Margaret Pierce of Ashville, NC; sister, Mary Sommers Pierce of Washington, DC, now working in Afghanistan; and brother, Samuel Pierce of Sebastopol, CA. His father, Lt.Col. Henry Jones Pierce, Sr., is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Tucker Pierce grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from The Citadel in 1970 with a BS in Civil Engineering. He then was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force and served as a KC- 135 tanker aircraft commander in the Stategic Air Command with assignments including Pease AFB, NH and combat aerial refueling operations in the Vietnam War. After discharge as a USAF captain, Tucker attended graduate school at Wake Forest University and completed an MBA.
Tucker started his engineering career at the NASA Space Center in Houston. He served as a lead Flight Activities Officer (FAO) in Mission Control for several of the early Space Shuttle missions, specializing in the launch procedures for telecommunications satellites. There he met Jane, who also worked in Mission Control at the time, and they married on April 9, 1983. His favorite line describing the romance was "Our eyes met across a crowded control room". Tucker and Jane moved to Northern Virginia after Tucker took a job with Satellite Business Systems. He provided engineering expertise for satellite launches by NASA and the European Space Agency's Ariane launches from French Guiana, South America (where he got to taste armadillo stew and avoid poison butterflies). Tucker then worked in Telecom Engineering Services at Booz, Allen, & Hamilton. He was the deputy director for the Space Station Operations Support contract, and served on many engineering consultant projects around the world, including winning an award for fixing the London's Docklands Light Rail System (it now stops at the platform!). Tucker, Jane, Hilary, and Robert mover to Williamsburg, Virginia in 2001 when Tucker became a General Manager at SAIC, providing engineering support to NASA, NOAA, USGS, and FAA. In 2005 Tucker became CEO of his own engineering consulting business, Tellus Applied Sciences, with clients including NASA, NOAA, and USGS. In 2012 Tucker joined Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions group.
Tucker was an adventurer. He enjoyed technical mountain climbing, scaling peaks in Washington state and Mexico. He loved sailing with his father on Lake Norman and with his catamaran in the Golf of Mexico. He raced motocross in his younger years and went on many motorcycle tours in the US and Europe. He was a "car guy" and raced his beloved red Porsche 911 with the Potomac Porsche Club. He had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and was an amateur boxer.
Tucker reveled in his family and friends. Lately he picked up the electric guitar and had a great time jamming with his buds. Tucker looked forward to hanging out with his friends of the Wows (Wise Old Winos) club each week. The most important thing to Tucker was his family: he was always close with his parents, his siblings, and extended family, and especially his kids. He liked nothing better than a good video game war with Hilary and Robert in the "man cave".
Funeral services were held Friday, May 8, 2015.
Editors Note-Tucker was a proud member of "L" Company, a corporal, Sergeant, and 2nd. Lt., Air Force scholarship, Bond Volunteers, Brigadier Staff, American Road Builders Assoc, American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, Fencing Club, and Rod and Gun Club.