CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former West Virginia state Senate President Larry Tucker has died at the age of 81.
Tucker was a Democratic member of the state Senate from Nicholas County from 1983 to 1989. He resigned in 1989 after pleading guilty in federal court to extorting $10,000 from an official at Tri-State Racetrack.
He was the fifth West Virginia official to leave state government under legal scrutiny that summer.
Tucker’s predecessor, Dan Tonkovich, also resigned after being accused of soliciting money from groups seeking favorable legislation in the Senate.
Also resigning that year were Attorney General Charlie Brown, who left office after a grand jury investigation; state Treasurer A. James Manchin, who resigned to halt a state Senate impeachment proceeding against him; and state Senator Si Boettner, who resigned and pleaded guilty to a federal income tax charge.
Tucker served time in prison for extortion.
In 2008, Tucker unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Tom Blankenship for the Democratic nomination for a seat on the Nicholas County Commission.
Tucker was born in Carbondale and graduated from West Virginia Institute of Technology, where he lettered in basketball. His obituary noted that he once outscored NBA legend Jerry West in a game between WV Tech and WVU.
The Waters Funeral Chapel in Summersville is in charge of arrangements. A private family service will be held with a public memorial service to follow at a later date.
Current Senate President Bill Cole, a Republican, offered his condolences:
“On behalf of the West Virginia Senate, I extend my deepest sympathies to the family of former Senate President Larry Tucker for their loss. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them in the coming days.”