That's what drove Tucker into plastic surgery, Virginia says. Before the '70s, the field was less about boob jobs than helping patients charred in fires or maimed in accidents.

Then, when cosmetic surgeries became more popular, Glen Tucker reaped the benefits. The family lived a comfortable life in a lakefront home.

By the early '80s, though, Virginia — then in her early 20s — knew her father was struggling. She knew nothing about the allegations lodged by Lehman or other patients, but she "worried about how depressed he seemed, how dour he had become."

Glen Tucker was one of Wisconsin's most prominent plastic surgeons.
Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television
Glen Tucker was one of Wisconsin's most prominent plastic surgeons.
"Mary" was 27 when Tucker mangled her breasts in a botched implant surgery.
Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television
"Mary" was 27 when Tucker mangled her breasts in a botched implant surgery.

As lawsuits piled up and investigations opened, Tucker cracked, his daughter says. "For a man of that level of accomplishment to admit to his emotional problems, it was impossible," she says. "The real heartbreak for me is that with some basic psychiatric care, he could have functioned perfectly well. But he was on call every other night. He kept a superhuman schedule and couldn't admit his own weaknesses."

So when Virginia and her mother learned that Glen had lied to them and fled to Florida, they reacted with concern, not fury. "He was emotionally ill. There was no other woman. He didn't take money or a passport," Virginia says. "He was emotionally broken. He'd had a breakdown. [We were] just hoping he could stay alive."

Tucker's daughter disputes the notion that her father was a wealthy surgeon fleeing his debts. In fact, she says, he was still paying off his student loans. He and Joan set up on Little Torch Key with little more than a few thousand in savings.

In the Keys, the couple had to reinvent themselves. Glen gave up his doctors' scrubs. He tried commercial fishing and then taught himself carpentry and did odd jobs. But he rarely socialized, preferring to keep to himself.

Joan was more outgoing. She got a realtor's license, joined a small firm, and soon became well-known in the lower Keys. To friends and colleagues, she was a dedicated professional and a conscientious neighbor. Her colleagues knew nothing about her old life in Wisconsin or how she ended up in the Keys.

"The Keys are a different place. It's really to each his own down here," says Judy Shephard, a realtor who worked with Joan for decades and became a close friend but knew nothing about her past. "It's one of the things I loved about moving here from California. It doesn't make any difference how much money you have or where you came from."

Even after Hackett and Patrick discovered Glen in 1984 and produced a pair of Wisconsin Public Television pieces and an article in Milwaukee Magazine, no one in the Keys knew about the couple's past. This was an era before the internet.

In the decades they lived together on Little Torch Key, the Tuckers were mostly happy, Virginia remembers. "They found some real moments of joy," she says. "They stayed a big part of my own life, after I had kids of my own."

That all changed in 2003, when Joan died at 73 years old. Glen was despondent, Virginia recalls. His wife had been the one constant in his life, even when he tried to flee his problems.

The next year, he posted a profile on eHarmony. When he connected with another woman his age, Virginia was thrilled.

Her name was Joan, like his first wife, but her last name from a previous marriage was Carter McDonald. She was four years younger than Glen. For months, the pair exchanged letters. Their politics were similar, and Joan's intellect was a match for the former doctor's. Once a teacher at the University of Southern Mississippi, she had advanced degrees in English and wrote government reports for a living. She resided for a while in Germany, and in her free time, she had written two books about Catholic philosopher Thomas Merton.

After a short courtship, the pair married in December 2005. Joan moved into the home on Little Torch Key, filling one room with hundreds of books.

"We welcomed her to the family," Virginia says. "They had some decent years together... He loved her, and she genuinely loved him. They were both looking for happiness and companionship at the end of their lives."

But the new Joan didn't come unattached. Tucker clashed with her two sons, Carter and Allan McDonald. Tucker thought they demanded too much money, Virginia says, adding that her father once paid a $7,000 dental bill.

"The brothers," she says, "are ne'er-do-wells who sucked them dry."

Neither brother responded to multiple messages seeking comment for this article. Allan McDonald has been charged with crimes in Broward County, including a 2002 drunk-driving arrest, to which he pleaded no contest, and a prowling and loitering charge in 2008 that he also did not dispute. Joan McDonald's daughter, Mary Price, an architect in Oklahoma, declined to speak on the record but denied Virginia's claims that her brothers freeloaded.

What's clear is that the couple's life fell apart in late 2010, when a debilitating stroke left Joan paralyzed. Glen reacted with profound depression. His second wife was moved to an assisted living facility for nearly a year, but on April 30, 2011, her children took her back home against Tucker's wishes.

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2 comments
kp.ryan
kp.ryan

Imagine, Tucker and Levy working side by side in the same hospital.  

 

I wonder if there were more.

mssnyder2012
mssnyder2012

You mentioned Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon  Dr. Donald Levy in the above story. You need to know that Dr. Levy, when going through a nasty divorce from his wife Mary , threatened his ex-wife that he had means to kill her without anyone knowing. Mary owned very expensive horses.  Dr. Levy was seen going into the barn one morning and injecting plastic into Mary's horses vein...resulting in the horse dying a horrible death.  Charles Skyes did an extensive feature story at the time in Mlwaukee Magazine.  Nothing happened to Levy.  He continued to be allowed to practice surgery.  It was awful and unfair.   

 
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