My father, Ken Tucker, who has died aged 91, was an architect who specialised in retail design. He learned his trade during a postwar period when individuals from less advantageous backgrounds were encouraged to achieve their full potential.
Born in Eastham, Cheshire, Ken was the son of Eva (nee Webb) and GwynTucker, a Manchester ship canal pilot. When the second world war broke out, the family moved to Newport, Pembrokeshire, where his father had grown up, re-establishing a link with that corner of Wales that would remain for the rest of his life.
After the war, the family returned to Liverpool. Ken went to the Holt high school, leaving at 16 and securing a post in the drawing office of the Liverpool Corporation. Following national service in Germany (1950-52), he met my mother, Barbara (nee Fearon), a typist at the Ministry of Works, at a dance in Liverpool; they married in 1960.
While working as an architectural draughtsman, Ken was successful in applying to a night-school scheme to train more architects to help with postwar reconstruction. While on the course, his student project was shortlisted for a RIBA gold medal – quite an achievement for someone studying at night school at the same time as being married with two children and working full time. Qualifying as a chartered architect contributed to his sense of purpose and worth. Ken went on to specialise in retail design, notably for the Liverpool store Littlewoods.
He was secretary of the Wirral Society of Arts (1990-2005) and of the St Andrew’s United Reformed Church at Meols on the Wirral (1970-2005), where he had oversight of the building’s fabric.
At the age of 73, a time when many people would be winding down and reducing their activities, Ken moved back to Pembrokeshire to live in Cilgerran, home to his brother, Brian, and sister-in-law, Irene. An accomplished artist, he joined the Newport Art Group, later becoming its secretary and chair. He was also a bellringer up to his 90th birthday.
A common thread in all these endeavours was my father’s open, inquisitive approach to life, fuelled by an intelligent, active mind that was, to the last, interested in the world.
Barbara died in 1999. He is survived by Brian and Irene, children, Pip and me, and grandson, Sam.