This afternoon, I attended a memorial service for my late friend, Dr. Jonathan B. Tucker. Roughly 100 people were in attendance, including his mother. It was a “Who’s Who” of the chemical/biological warfare community, and many other friends this amazing, gentle, brilliant man made in the almost 57 years he spent on this earth. You can read about how Robin and I came to know Jonathan in LSJ, but here is the tribute to him that I offered to his friend Jonathan Winer:
My wife and I encountered Jonathan during his tenure on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses in 1995. Jonathan had learned that my wife and I—both then CIA employees—had developed evidence that Desert Storm veterans may well have been exposed to chemical agents during the war. You can learn more via my website and my blog. Jonathan took us seriously and did his best to pursue the facts, which as you probably know proved costly for him. We became friends and stayed in touch in the years after the Gulf War Syndrome/chemical weapons controversy had largely passed from the headlines.
We were excited and happy for him when he secured the position at the university in Darmstadt; we had hoped to visit him in Germany at some point. I’ve been in Washington nearly 25 years, and I’ve rarely encountered people with the combination of wit, intelligence, integrity, and good humor that Jonathan possessed. I still cannot get my mind around the idea that he’s left us. The one comfort I have is that he was a part of our lives, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Given how much of a difference he made in the brief time he was here, I can only imagine what he would’ve accomplished if he’d not been taken from us entirely too soon.