The Democrat served as state Senator from 1977 to 1989 and while serving as senator, he was elected Speaker Pro Tempore of the Tennessee State Senate.
Rucker was born in Murfreesboro and was the son of the late Annie Richardson Rucker and Ellis Suttle Rucker. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Margaret "Betty" Wolfe Rucker, and his brother, Ellis Suttle Rucker, Jr.
He is survived by his four children, Richard W. Rucker and his wife, Sue Rucker, of Murfreesboro; Libbi Rucker-Reed of Murfreesboro; Debbie R. Combos of Franklin, Tenn.; and John R. “Jock” Rucker, Jr., and wife, Patty Rucker; eight grandchildren, Linda Long and her husband, Scott Long; Shannon Rucker; Todd Reed and his wife, Karen Reed; LeeAnne Rucker-Reed; Katie Combos; Andrew Combos; John R. Rucker III, and his wife, Ann Elizabeth Rucker; and Anne Loy and her husband, Josh Loy; and three great- grandchildren, Jorden Reed, Kyra Reed and Aiden Reed.
Rucker attended East End Grammar School and Central High School in Murfreesboro. Upon graduation from high school in 1933, he immediately entered Cumberland School of Law in Lebanon, Tenn., graduating from law school in 1934. He passed the Tennessee Bar Exam in the summer of 1934 and was admitted to practice in the state of Tennessee on September 15, 1934, at the age of 18.
In 1934, he began practicing law with his grandfather, John E. Richardson, and enrolled at Middle Tennessee State College. He graduated in 1938 and continued practicing law with his grandfather until he enlisted in the Armed Services.
Rucker served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II as a glider pilot. He remained in the Air Force Reserves rising to the rank of full colonel, prior to his retirement on November 2, 1975, at the age of 60. After World War II, he returned to Murfreesboro and resumed his practice of law. He continued in the law practice with his two sons, Richard and Jock until his retirement in 1990.
In 1948, he was elected General Sessions Judge of Rutherford County and served until 1962. He was elected to the Murfreesboro City Council and served as a councilman from 1962 to 1968.
He was an active member of First Presbyterian Church. He loved traveling with Betty and was an avid pheasant hunter.
Chapel services for Mr. Rucker will be 10 a.m. Monday at Jennings and Ayers Chapel at 820 S. Church St. Burial will follow at Evergreen Cemetery with sons, Richard and John officiating. Family and friends will serve as pallbearers.
Visitation will be 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice.