BOWLING GREEN - Duane Tucker, 84, the founding general manager of WBGU-TV at Bowling Green State University who saw potential in public television from its infancy, died Monday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township, from complications of congestive heart failure.
He led the station for 25 years, retiring in 1989. Afterward, he was on the WBGU-TV public advisory council as a "member for life," said Pat Fitzgerald, general manager since 1989.
"Duane was a person of great vision, of great patience," Mr. Fitzgerald said.
WBGU went on the air Feb. 10, 1964, broadcasting educational programs on Channel 70. The station shut down at 3 p.m. and on weekends.
But Mr. Tucker and other educational TV heads came up with a statewide service for everyone, outside the school day. "What came out was a wonderful interconnected system in Ohio," Mr. Fitzgerald said.
The station later increased its power and moved to Channel 57 and eventually to its current spot, Channel 27. The station became known for producing original programs.
"He had a dream of what could be accomplished and what should be accomplished," his wife, Margaret, said.
Mr. Tucker believed WBGU was different from the Toledo's public station because "the university station was given the mission of serving the medium and small communities [from] south of Toledo to south of Lima," Mr. Fitzgerald said.
Mr. Tucker grew up in Great Bend, Kan., and at 18 was an announcer for an Emporia, Kan., radio station. He received a bachelor's degree from Kansas State Teachers College and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin.
He taught at Oregon State College before he was hired at BGSU. He was in charge of radio, television, and film in the speech department as well as broadcasting, including WBGU-FM.
He leaves his wife, Margaret, whom he married Sept. 15, 1945; daughter, Maggie Laughlin; son, Todd; two granddaughters, and five great-grandchildren.
There will be no visitation. Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. June 28 at BGSU's Tucker Center for Communications, where WBGU-TV is. Arrangements are by the Dunn Funeral Home, Bowling Green.
The family suggests tributes to the Tucker Scholarship Fund at the BGSU Foundation.