OBITUARY

Helen J. Tuck

May 10, 1927May 11, 2010

TUCK, Helen J. Age 83, a longtime resident of La Crescenta, passed away May 11, 2010 in Palmdale. She was born May 10, 1927 in Goderich, Ontario, Canada. Mrs. Tuck worked in administration for the Theoretical Physics Department at CalTech for 30 years. She is survived by her son, Thomas C. Tuck; daughter-in-law, Marianne A. Tuck; and grandson, Michael E. Tuck. Preceded in death by her dear husband, Gordon H. Tuck; and son, Donald G. Tuck. A memorial service will be held on May 22, 2010, at 1:00 p.m., at Eternal Valley Memorial Park Mortuary, in Newhall.

Services

  • Memorial Service

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

Memories

Helen J. Tuck

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Tony Hey

July 1, 2021

Helen Tuck dedication
I have just completed editing a 25th anniversary edition of Feynman’s ‘Lectures on Computation’ and I would like to dedicate this new edition to Helen’s memory. Helen started as the secretary for two legendary Caltech Nobel Prize winners, Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann in 1981. She took over this very interesting but intimidating position after the retirement of their previous long-serving secretary, Julie Curcio. I was on sabbatical leave at Caltech in 1981 and was fortunate to get to know Helen quite well as she settled into her new role. Her role in the computing book project was that she knew that Feynman really wanted his lectures on computation to be written up for publication. However, several people had tried to do this before me but had then abandoned the task. Helen recommended me to Feynman as a possible editor and he emailed me (via Helen of course) in November 1987. When I visited Caltech for a Hypercube computing conference in January 1988, I was able to meet with Feynman and we agreed that I would take on this task. I knew Feynman was ill with cancer but I was still dismayed that he died so soon after our agreement. However Helen had made sure that I had received all the relevant material for Feynman’s computing course – mainly course notes and audio tapes. It took me a long time to sort out, understand and edit all this material into a form suitable for publication. One of my main motivations was to justify Helen’s belief that I would finish the task. That Feynman’s ‘Lectures on Computation’ finally appeared in book form is certainly due to Helen’s loyalty and persistence. I am happy to record my debt and thanks to Helen in this new edition.
Tony Hey
Southampton, UK
July 2021

Friedhelm Dr Koenig

November 9, 2020

I met Helen Tuck at Caltech's Department of Physics shortly after the death of legendary physicist Richard P. Feynman in 1988---for whom she worked as a secretary---and she kindly provided me with a list of his most recent scientific publications at that time.
I coincidentally found out that sie had passed away in Palmdale, a community which is not far away from Rancho Mirage, California, where I had lived for a while.
My condolences go out to her son. Helen was a very loyal and competent secretary at CalTech.

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