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Wednesday, 12 February 2014
POPULAR PASTOR TAKES HIS OWN LIFE IN DUNKERTON
DUNKERTON | The popular leader of the First Baptist Church in Dunkerton took his own life this morning, stunning members of the congregation and many in the wider community.
The Rev. Tommy Rucker -- known affectionately as Pastor Tommy -- died after inflicting a gunshot wound, according to Police Chief Tim Schultz.
Though still investigating, Schultz said nothing so far has suggested the incident was anything more than a suicide. Rucker died behind the church parsonage where he lived.
"There is nothing suspicious," Schultz added.
Rucker joined the church in January 2007. He participated in a deacons' meeting Tuesday night, according to Dick Ede, a member of the congregation and church treasurer.
"He was as jovial and was cutting up just like he always was in situations like that," Ede said. "There was no indication of anything wrong at all."
Rucker, a native of Kentucky, graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, according to the church's website.
While there, he earned a bachelor of arts and master of divinity degree. He previously served two other congregations but the website did not specify where.
"He and his wife, Kay, have been happily married since 1981, and they are the proud grandparents of seven beautiful and intelligent grandchildren," the site added.
Ede got word of Rucker's death from Police Chief Schultz while in Waterloo. Ede said he had trouble comprehending the news.
"I said, 'What?' and Tim said, "Let me start over. This is Tim Schultz. Pastor Tommy committed suicide,'" Ede said. "I was shocked."
Ede described Rucker as powerful man of faith.
"He was a godly man. He was the epitome of a Christian. He read the Bible constantly," Ede said.
Schultz said an initial search of the church produced nothing that might be interpreted as a suicide note.
Rucker and church volunteers led a program each Wednesday evening called the Awana Club for children in kindergarten through sixth grades.
The church-related activities routinely attract several dozen children representing several Christian denominations. Church officials canceled tonight's Awana gathering.
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