Playing hurt

PJO019096-1_20121227Ed, Ted and I learned this past Friday of the loss of our friend, and long-time strategic business partner, Tucker Greco.

Tucker, and his firm, Greco Ethridge Group, were our go-to advertising partners during those crazy, hazy and anything-but-lazy dotcom days. We shared many, many accounts, won tons of new business together and embraced the very same work hard, play hard ethos.

Tuck was a big bear of a man, who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. But, that’s where any, and all, similarities with Jolly St. Nick ended. Tuck was brilliant, but blunt. And, as the saying goes, he didn’t suffer fools gladly. Despite that caveat, however, he adored Ed, Ted and me, and would literally take a bullet for Peppercomm.

Unlike Peppercomm, though, Tuck’s firm was solely dependent upon business-to-business dotcom clients for billings. So, when the technology sector crashed in 2000, and client after client went belly up so, too, did Greco Ethridge Group.

Tuck weathered the storm, and reinvented himself several times over the succeeding years. Ed and I would periodically call him, and invite Tuck to either join us in an integrated marketing new business pitch or subcontract some design and copy work to him. He was forever grateful and forever one ‘big account’ away from re-establishing himself as a top ad man.

Sadly, that one big account never materialized. Instead, Tuck contracted stomach cancer and, well, that was all she wrote.

When I think of Tucker, I think of the time we were sitting at LaGuardia Airport waiting to board a shuttle flight that would take us to D.C., and a meeting with a dotcom client we shared. I’d told him I’d had a lousy night’s sleep and felt like I was coming down with a cold. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind my bailing on the trip. If looks could kill, I wouldn’t be penning this blog.
Tuck sighed, and fixed me with a stare that would stop a clock. He said, "Steve, you’re getting on that plane with me, and we’re going to go have a helluva good meeting with the client. You’ve got to learn to play hurt."

I still think of those words every single time I contemplate pulling the plug on a client or new business meeting because I’m battling a cold or stomach virus. And, nine times out of 10, I’ll suck it up and attend the meeting knowing that Tuck’s damn words would haunt me for the rest of the day if I didn’t.

I hope that wherever Tuck is today, he’s not feeling any pain whatsoever.

We miss you, Tuck. And, we hope you’ll be playing healthy for eternity.

7 thoughts on “Playing hurt

  1. Agreed. Whenever I think of that new business pitch, I think of two things: Tucker’s X-rated comment at the end of the preso and Dawn Lauer’s pointing a loaded 9mm Glock at poor Ted. Those were the days, Sam Earl.

  2. Few people have been able to cram more memories into one short-term project together than the time I was able to share with Tucker. He was an unforgettable character and a person I feel fortunate to have been able to collaborate with.

  3. Thanks Biffo (and everyone else). I’m sure Tucker appreciates all the kind words (wherever he is). And, yeah, he was a man’s man. There was no bullshit about Tuck. Nice observation.

  4. Introduced to Tucker by the RepMan himself I found myself talking to him every day, working on a project of his.He was the ultimate professional, and if I may say “a man’s man”. He will be sorely missed by all he touched.

  5. He was a wonderful man and I am so glad I had the opportunity to know him through his continued connection with Peppercomm.

  6. Really sad to hear this news. As you said, Steve, Tuck was a real stand-up guy and always fun to work with on projects and pitches. RIP, Tucker.