Paul A. Tucker, Jr.

Paul A. Tucker, Jr.
Years of Service at College of Textiles 1964-1998

  • Outstanding Teacher of the Year, College of Textiles 1970-1971; 1999-2000
  • Professor, Program Director, Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry, and Science 1988-1998
  • Professor and Graduate Administrator, Department of Textile Management and Technology 1985-1988
  • Associate Professor, Professor, Department of Textile Materials and Management -1976 – 1985
  • Instructor and Assistant Professor, Department of Textile Technology 1964-1971, 1973, 1975-1976
  • NATO Post-Doc Leeds University 1974

Paul A. Tucker was born in Stanfield, NC on May 14, 1941, the son of Paul A. Tucker, Sr. and Fonnie Sasser Tucker.  He graduated from high school and matriculated in the School of Textiles, where he earned a BS Textile Technology degree in 1963.  He immediately entered graduate school and earned the MS Textile Technology in 1966 and the Ph. D. in Fiber and Polymer Science in 1974 all while working full time in the College.  He also found time to meet Lynn who was also a student at the university during the fall of 1964. They were married on February 26, 1965 after a whirlwind courtship.

Figure:  NC State Wrestling Team 1963.  Paul Tucker, center back row.  Courtesy of Lynn Tucker and Agromeck Yearbook

During his undergraduate years, he found time to earn two athletic letters in Judo and Wrestling.  He was later the adviser to the Judo team when he realized he had a congenital heart problem.  These problems had never showed up during physical exams dating to childhood.   Later, at the age of 40, he nearly died after running five miles in the late afternoon August heat.  This was the turning point of his life.  He could no longer lead the active physical life he had known.  Following heart surgery at Duke University medical Center in 1984, he was dependent on many medications, which affected him mentally and physically.  Despite his friendships with many faculty members, he did not want to share this burden.

Good Times

Paul had many friends on the faculty.  Foursomes including Mendel Robinson, Perry Grady, Charles Livengood and Paul often found time to play golf despite heavy teaching and research loads expected of graduate students.  The same foursome developed T105, the first common course for all freshmen.  Each taught a section.  Often, common exams were given in the auditorium of Nelson Hall.  This foursome met at Balentines Cafeteria along with whoever else showed up. Often the group included Frances Massey, Bill Stuckey, Anne Clapp, and Alan Donaldson. (3)

It is reported that Paul purchased a Triumph M-3 on landing in the USA using his American Express credit card.  This was after his sabbatical year in England at Leeds.  He was also a bit absent-minded.  On one occasion upon leaving the Kenan Stadium following a State-Carolina football game, neither he nor Bob Gupta could find the car keys.  When they found the car, it was unlocked and RUNNING. (3)


Paul’s research on fiber extrusion with John Cuculo and T. Waller George led to an intense devotion to expanding his knowledge of microscopy and expansion of the research tools the school had at hand.  A NATO post-doctoral fellowship to Leeds University (UK) enabled Paul and Lynn to see things they never imagined they would experience.  Research papers appeared steadily and were published in major journals.  Paul was promoted to Associate Professor and Professor on a timely manner.

Figure: Paul with John Cuculo (off frame) with polymer extruded at the College
Courtesy of Lynn Tucker


Teaching was something that Paul enjoyed immensely.   He was cited as Outstanding Teacher of the Year twice, once early in his career and again when he was close to retirement.  His graduate level T500 course in advanced microscopy techniques became a required course for almost every student enrolled in a Master’s degree program.  Paul became the “go-to” person for all aspects of microscopy. I would hate to have to enumerate the number of graduate student committees he was a part of.  His soft-spoken nature changed a bit when he stepped in front of a class where he could share his passion for microscopy and polymer structure.

Figure: Paul Tucker; Miss Kelly Jean Ponder, Miss Wool of America; and Aly El-Sheikh tour Nelson Building.  Circa: 1970-71 NCSU Archives


In his spare time, Paul collected many “things”.  He collection was diverse.  Who else would collect dynamite blasting caps, miner’s lamps, as well as the minerals, crystals and gems that others collected?  He loved Jugtown Pottery, eastern NC duck decoys, old maps, coins and tokens.  His love for minerals and “rocks” in general surely led to his interest in fossils and actually traveling to digs in the western states.  A large portion of his best NC gems and minerals were loaned to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for an exhibit in 2005.  When several of his friends including Perry Grady stopped by to see the exhibit, they saw no evidence of his name.  Of course, it was “Anonymous Donor”.  Dr. Tucker wanted no notoriety; he just wanted to share.  The Museum is now the proud owner of his collection of NC gems and minerals.  He never brought them home after the exhibit closed. (1)

A web log from Dr. Chris Tacker, Research Curator Geology, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, tells a wonderful story about Paul’s generosity. (4)

Paul also has Jugtown Pottery on exhibit with Curator Michael Ausbon. February 2017.

Figure: Cream Pitcher – Earthenware, clear lead glaze, inscribed Ben W. Owen 1938. Ben was the first ‘Master Potter’ at Jugtown.  Photo Courtesy of Michael Ausbon, Curator

Figure : Low Bowl – Stoneware, salt glaze with cobalt blue accents, ca. 1930’s. This bowl is a Jugtown translation of an ancient Chinese form sketched by Jacques Busbee in the 1920’s from the Metropolitan Museum in NY.  Photo Courtesy of Michael Ausbon, Curator

Figure: Frank Hyne, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, left, with Paul on a fossil dig in Wyoming. Photo Courtesy of Lynn Tucker

Figure: NC minerals donated by Paul on exhibition at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.  Left: amethysts; right: garnets.  Photo Courtesy of Gary Mock

Figure: Paul with Duck Decoy. Photo Courtesy of Lynn Tucker

Selected Publications/Patents/Honors

  1. Five US Patents: 4,909,976 (1990); 5,149,480 (1992); 5,171, 504 (1992); 5,268,133 (1993); 5,405,696 (1995) jointly with others.
  2. Rochow, T.G.; Rochow, E.G.; and Tucker, P.A., An Introduction to Microscopy by Means of Light, Electrons, X-Rays, or Acoustics, 2nd, Plenum Press, New York, 1994.
  3. Mehta, S.; Wu, G.; Tucker, P.A.; and Hersh, S.P., “Characterization of Semi-permeable Protective Barrier Fabrics, Book of Abstracts, 11th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Aerosol Research, san Francisco, CA, October 1992.
  4. Wu, G., Zhou, Q., Chen J., Hotter, J., Tucker, P. and Cuculo, J., “The Effect of a Liquid Isothermal Bath in the Threadline on the Structure and Properties of Poly (ethylene terephthalate) Fibers,” Appl. Poly. Sci., 55, 1275-1289 (1995).
  5. Hersh, S.P.; Rochow, T.G.; Tucker, P.A.; Farwell, F.W., “Mineralogy of the Airborne Dust in a Cotton Card Room,” Textile Res. J., 46, 743-747 1976.
  6. Hotter, J.F., Cuculo, J.A., Tucker, P.A., Annis, B.K., Effect of isothermal bath position in modified poly (ethylene terephthalate) PET melt spinning process on properties and structure of as-spun and annealed filaments, J. Appl. Poly. Sci., 69(10) 2051-2068 (1998).
  7. Hotter, J.F., Cuculo, J.A., Tucker, P.A., Annis, B.K., Effect of initial take-up speed on properties and structure of as-spun and drawn/heat-set poly (ethylene terephthalate) filaments, Appl. Poly. Sci., 69(11) 2115-2131 (1998).
  8. Tucker, Paul A., Scale heights of chemically treated wool and hair fibers, Res. J., 68(3), 229-230, (1998).
  9. Chen, Jiunn-Yow, Tucker, P.A., Cuculo, J.A., High-performance PET fibers via liquid isothermal bath high-speed spinning: fiber properties and structure resulting from threadline modification and post-treatment, Appl. Poly. Sci., 66(13), 2441-2455, (1997)
  10. Huang, Bin, Tucker, Paul A., Cuculo, John A., High performance poly (ethylene terephthalate) fiber properties achieved via high-speed spinning with a modified liquid isothermal bath process, Polymer, 38(5), 1101-1110, (1997)
  11. Tucker, Paul, George Waller, Microfibers formed ab initio in extensional melt flows, Tex Res. J., 44(1) 56-70, (1974)
  • Member Academy of Outstanding Teachers, North Carolina State University 1971; 2000
  • NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship in Science, University of Leeds, England, 1974


  1. Lynn Tucker, personal communication 2017.
  2. Paul A. Tucker, Biographical Data, 1995.
  3. Charles Livengood, Personal communication, 2017.