Houston News Veteran Capella Tucker Fondly Remembered By Colleagues

“If a person could embody the spirit of NPR-style journalism, that person was Capella Tucker.”

Former Houston Public Media Director of Content Capella Tucker.

Former Houston Public Media Director of Content Capella Tucker Plourde passed away this week at the age of 48.

A beloved leader and colleague, she started at the station in 1994 and produced Engines of Our Ingenuity while reporting in the newsroom. For ten years starting in 1997, Tucker was the local news host for Saturday Weekend Edition and Car Talk before becoming Assistant News Director, News Director, and later finishing her 23-year career as the Director of Content for Houston Public Media.

Her work with Houston Public Media brought awards from the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters, the Radio Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Inc., The Harris County Medical Society, and the Houston Press Club.

"If a person could embody the spirit of NPR-style journalism, that person was Capella Tucker," said Laurie Johnson, Executive Producer for News at Houston Public Media. "Mostly I remember Capella for three things: her unwavering dedication to journalism, her deep and abiding love for her family, and her hair. She had glorious hair. She was incredibly proud of her husband and daughter, her family was her greatest joy and priority. And she was the most passionate advocate for public media I've ever known," Johnson said.

Craig Cohen, host and Executive Producer of Houston Public Media's public affairs show Houston Matters, also remembered her fondly.

"Capella hired me to develop and host Houston Matters. She was so invested in the as-yet-unlaunched, unnamed show, she met me at the airport, and spent hours driving me all around Greater Houston. As we talked, it became clear how passionate she was about her adopted hometown, and what she thought the show that would become Houston Matters could add to it. She sold me on coming here that afternoon," Cohen said.

Houston Matters host Craig Cohen and Capella Tucker prepare to kayak down Buffalo Bayou toward downtown Houston in 2014.

In 2014, Cohen and Tucker embarked on a canoeing trip down Buffalo Bayou to check off an item on Tucker's "bucket list." The pair recorded their trip for a segment on Houston Matters.

Paul Pendergraft, a former reporter and anchor for Houston Public Media, described Tucker as caring and thoughtful.

"I first met Capella when I was working for a commercial news station on the AM dial. We were covering an HISD Board meeting. The first thing I noticed about her was her distinct northeast accent. I asked where she was from. She said with pride, ‘Maine.' I said, ‘Welcome to Texas.'"

Tucker and Pendergraft developed a friendship as radio reporters in the Bayou City, sharing notes and tips despite technically being competitors. Pendergraft eventually took a job with Houston Public Media and worked closely with Tucker for years.

"She was truly committed to the mission of public radio and television. Her many colleagues, friends and loved-ones will sorely miss her."

Memorial services will be held May 6 and 7 at Clayton Funeral Home and Crematory, 5530 Broadway, Pearland, Texas 77581. Further details available here.

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