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Sam Michael Tucker

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 12 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4246
  1. Dana Cukier

The middle of three sons, Sam Michael Tucker was born in Benoni, South Africa, in 1926 to Harry and Ray Tucker, who had arrived there with their families from Lithuania in the early 1900s.

When Sam left school in 1944, the second world war was ongoing in Europe, and much to his mother’s chagrin, he decided to join the South African Air Force rather than go straight to university. His training as a navigator stood him in good stead when he volunteered to serve with the fledgling Israeli air force in 1948 as part of the renowned South African elite fighting force, the Palmach. He flew over Syria in a flying fortress plane, and as a key navigator he participated in many critical moments of air force missions, releasing bombs by hand.

After his wartime experiences, he chose to study medicine at the medical school of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he met his future wife, Barbara Kaplan, a beautiful fine arts student and “rag queen.”

On 13 December 1953, Sam and Barbara married in her home town of Durban, Natal (their 65th wedding anniversary would have been in December 2018). They lived …

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