The Big Stone Gap High School football team defeated the Radford High School team to win the Virginia Half State Championship game in Big Stone Gap at Bullit Park in 1937 by a score of 32 to 7. The captain and star player of the Big Stone Gap team was Woody Tucker, the son of John B. & Cornelia Gilliam Tucker of Big Stone Gap.
In June of 1936, his junior year, Tucker contracted spinal meningitis during an outbreak of the disease in the coalfields and was diagnosed as highly unlikely to survive. After an all-night prayer vigil held by local townsfolk on the lawn outside of the Tucker home, the town’s star player recovered and went on to lead the team to their championship victory. At that time no other person had been known to have survived the deadly ailment. Tucker went to attend the University of Tennessee in 1938.
At the University of Tennessee, Tucker was a star prospect, playing on their freshman team. Later, Tucker joined the U. S. Army Air Force at the outbreak of World War II. Slated to fly B-17’s, he was discharged from the air corps upon the discovery of a heart ailment. He married Louise Robinette, the daughter of James L. & Pebble Stone Robinette of Jerome Street in Big Stone Gap.
Woody Tucker now resides in the Town of Dublin, Virginia.
Contributed by Randy Tucker (born in Wise County in 1950, Woody’s second of four sons.)
Also contributing James L. Tucker, JD (born on Jerome Street in Big Stone Gap in 1941.) James is a writer of history. His books can be ordered from the history page on the Blue Moon web site and he may be contacted at email@example.com