Mark Vaughn Tucker

June 4, 1956 ~ October 16, 2021 (age 65)


On October, 16, 2021, Mark Tucker, loving husband, dad, father-in-law, pops, uncle, coach, mentor, and friend entered the gates of heaven in awe of his Lord and Savior’s glory. We can only imagine the joy he felt when greeted by love ones gone before him.

Mark was born in Danville, Kentucky on June 4, 1956, to Gene and Betty Tucker. He is survived by Sandra, his loving wife of 43 years, Kyra and Justin Burns (daughter and son-in law), Kadrian and Chad Whisenhunt (daughter and son-in law), Kyle Tucker (son), Konner and Lexi Tucker (son and daughter-in-law), Gene Tucker (father), Melinda Tucker (sister-in-law), Beverly and Wiley Smith (sister-in-law and brother-in-law), Mary Kay Hobbs (sister-in-law) and Terri and David Graves (sister-in-law and brother in law).

Mark’s five granddaughters, whom he called his “Starting Five” were so very special to him. Scout, Pearce, and Jentry Burns, and Charlotte and Sophie Whisenhunt called Mark, “Pops” and he loved them dearly.

A special person in Mark’s life was Chad Knowles, who Mark looked at as a son. He first met Chaddy at age 10 years old and mentored him in basketball and life. As Chaddy became a young adult, their relationship grew into a very special friendship. Chaddy and his wife, Sara, and their two sons, Jensen and Collin have been a part of the Tucker family for years and Mark loved them very much.

He was Uncle Mark to his many nieces and nephews and he had aunts, uncles, and cousins in Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas that were all special to him.

Mark was preceded in death by his mother and his brother, Steve.

Mark, his parents and brother moved to Sapulpa, Oklahoma from Danville, Kentucky in March, 1963 when his dad was transferred to manage the Southern Ice Company, later to be called the Sapulpa Ice Company when the Tuckers purchased the business.

Being from Kentucky, Mark and Steve had a passion for the game of basketball which was cultivated by their dad, who was a star basketball player at Pulaski County High School, in Somerset, Kentucky. During his elementary years in Sapulpa, Mark would bounce his basketball from his home on Oak Street to the Sacred Heart School, located at McKinley and Walnut. The nuns that taught at the school and lived next door, would watch Mark practice and would bring him water on a daily basis. He would work hours on his ball handling and shooting the basketball, dreaming of someday playing at the college level. All of Mark’s hard work paid off where he ended up helping lead the Sapulpa Chieftain Basketball team to a #1 ranking in Class 3A his junior and senior years. Mark’s junior year, the Sapulpa Chieftains were the Class 3A State runner-ups and his senior year they played in the Class 3A State semi-finals. Mark broke the single game scoring record his senior year and held for 45 years, the all-time scoring record for Sapulpa basketball. He was the 1974 Green Country Conference player of the year, a 1974 All Stater and the MVP of the Oklahoma All State basketball game representing the East squad that defeated the West squad. He set the single game scoring record for the Faith 7 Oklahoma All Star game in 1974 when his team beat the Texas All Stars.

Mark was also a part of the Sapulpa High School tennis state championships in 1972 and 1973. He won the #2 doubles state championship as a freshman with partner, Rod Chambers in 1971 and the #2 single state championship in 1972.

Mark had grown up watching the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes basketball team where he would attend the games with his dad, brother, and longtime friend, Pat Ritchie. While attending the John Brown University summer basketball camp at 12 years old, Mark began a relationship with then Tulsa basketball head coach, Ken Hayes, who was at the camp. Mark was hoping his dream of playing at the Division I level would come true and he wanted to play for Coach Hayes, whom he looked up to. Mark graduated from Sapulpa High School in 1974. He signed with Tulsa University and attended on a basketball scholarship. After Coach Hayes took the New Mexico State University Basketball job, Mark stayed one more year at Tulsa University and then transferred to Oklahoma State University to finish out his playing career under Coach Jim Killingsworth. A second-team All-Big Eight Selection his senior year, Mark was listed second in the NCAA in free throw percentage and was named to the Big Eight All-Academic Team both years. He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls of the NBA in 1978 but decided to complete his eligibility at OSU.

Mark and Sandra married August 6, 1978 and they lived in Stillwater their first year of marriage which was Mark’s last year at OSU. Mark graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and a minor in History. He was offered the head basketball job at Beggs High School in 1979 and had coaching stops at Oklahoma City Southeast High School, Union High School, North Laurel High School in London, Kentucky, Sapulpa High School, and Paschal High School in Fort Worth, TX. He won every championship at the high school level including the 1982 4A State Championship at Oklahoma City Southeast High School at 25 years old.

Mark was of the Baptist denomination where he was a deacon, Director of his Adult Sunday School class, a junior high youth volunteer, camp counselor for a week at the Falls Creek Youth Camp, Chairman of the Recreation committee at church and played for the Sapulpa First Baptist Church league basketball team that won the Oklahoma Baptist Convention State Championship in 1986.

Although the accolades he received as a player and coach were impressive, he was most proud of being a husband and father. He wanted to give a glimpse to his children of how much the Lord loves them by loving his children unconditionally. He was the spiritual leader of his family and took it very seriously. He read his Bible and prayed daily for his wife, four children and their spouses, his granddaughters and his extended family and friends. He led each one of his children to Christ and was so happy when they became believers and were baptized.

Proverbs 3:5,6 is Mark’s family’s Bible verse. He always said it is easy to trust the Lord when everything is going good but let’s see how you trust Him when adversity hits. Adversity did hit Mark in the latter days of his life, and he still trusted the Lord. Before he was intubated on September 26th , he ask Sandra to write his words down to share just in case it was the end of his earthly life. “Know this one thing, I have been blessed beyond measure. The Lord has been good to me. I love him and he has blessed me. He did not abandon me. He was with me the whole time. My trust is in Jesus. I want my family to trust the Lord no matter what and give him the praise and the glory. I will see you again. We will have a wonderful time together. What a wonderful, wonderful blessing that will be.”

The family suggests contributions to the Engadi Ministries International, PO Box 7801, Athens, GA 30604 in honor of Mark Tucker. You may go to the website to learn more about the ministry or donate at

Mark Tucker’s celebration of life service will be held at the Smith Funeral Home Chapel in Sapulpa, Oklahoma on Saturday, October 23rd at 11:00 am. The entombment will follow at Green Hill Memorial Gardens, Sapulpa.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mark, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
October 23, 2021

11:00 AM
Smith Funeral Home
1208 S Main
Sapulpa, OK 74066

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