CMR High School graduate and former Montana State University football player Karl Tucker II died unexpectedly on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, following a cardiac event; he was 25 years old.
Tucker left his mark all over the Rustlers' record books, and holds the career mark with 130 receptions. He helped lead CMR to the 2014 Class AA state title game. He was also an all-state guard for the Rustlers' basketball team.
Tucker's former Rustler teammate Andrew Grinde, the 2014 Montana Gatorade football player of the year, remembers Tucker as the hardest worker on the team and an incredible friend and person off of it.
“I’m just trying to wrap my mind around how good of a person he was to so many,” Grinde told MTN Sports. “He was a perfect force for me to work hard and made life and football more enjoyable and a lot easier. He was the only person throughout all of high school who was crazy enough to train every hour of the day like I did.”
Grinde continued, "We were both fulfilling our dreams and a lot of that begins and what you become as a human in high school, your character, your drive your habits. And he was like my habit polisher essentially in all the right ways, which then led to my life. Just, you know, it's been very happy with how things work because I've never had a problem working hard. And it's always been nice to look over and see Karl, you know, just thriving."
After high school Tucker committed to Montana State where he played four seasons for then-coach Jeff Choate and the Bobcats, making the switch from wide receiver to running back. He transferred to Montana Western for his final year of eligibility in 2020, but never suited up for the Bulldogs after the COVID pandemic wiped out the season.
Following his graduation from MSU, Tucker began a career in medical sales in Idaho and was engaged to be married to Hallie Turner.
“We went our separate ways after high school but it as always nice to look over and see Karl thriving,” Grinde said. “I remember visiting him in Idaho Falls a few years ago when he was just starting in sales and he was grinding. You just knew he was going to have a successful life.
“He was a monumental friend. He faced a lot of adversity in his life, but he always had a smile on his face at all times and was always so positive. He was the most authentic person and definitely the life force in in every room.”
His funeral was held on Tuesday near his home in Boise where he lived with his fiance.
Family and friends in Montana are planning a celebration of life on Saturday, September 2, at 5:30 pm in the Panorama Room at the Great Falls International Airport.
Friends are also invited to play basketball in his honor earlier in the day at Sacajawea Elementary School at 11 a.m.
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