Stuckey’s husband Bill died Nov. 23, 2017 from a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The Milan native and U.S. Army veteran was 69.
“I want to write a book about Bill. He accepted Christ in his life six weeks before he died,” she said. “He was a confirmed atheist.”
Her son, Brian, died Dec. 29, 2013 at age 42 at his Norwalk home. The 1989 St. Paul High School graduate had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). The Cleveland Clinic confirmed the first diagnosis in April 2012.
“I wanted to share his testimony of faith,” said Brian’s mother, Stuckey.
Christian Faith Publishing Inc. released Stuckey’s book, “Walking Brian Home,” in February. The description on the front cover is “one young man’s story of faith in the face of death.” The book is available on the Amazon, BAM! and Barnes & Noble websites.
“Brian was everything for the glory of God,” his mother said. “His faith never failed.”
Stuckey said her son’s life and health problems taught her that “God is with us through all our struggles.”
Within about four years, both Stuckey’s husband and her son died. But death isn’t something she necessarily avoids.
“I’m at peace with it,” she said, noting she’s “not shy” about death because of her strong faith. “I’m very comfortable with death. … My mom died when I was 3. My grandmother raised me; she was born in 1893.”
Stuckey started volunteering with Stein Hospice in February. She spends time with patients, providing a respite for caregivers.
“You meet the patient where they’re at and you try to make them comfortable,” Stuckey said. “I want their transition to heaven to be so powerful. I love giving back.”
Stuckey has another book ready to go — a collection of her poetry about her life, family and yes, even death.
“It’s already in the layout stage,” she said. “Everybody always wanted me to publish my poems.”
There’s an unpublished book she wrote about growing up on a farm. Stuckey said she also wants to write about the sexual abuse she endured from two family members and a work being planned she has titled “Claire’s Nightmare.” It revolves around her husband’s post-traumatic stress disorder from being in the Vietnam War in 1965 and 1966.
One of the themes in “Walking Brian Home” is Stuckey’s son conquering any challenge he faced “with excellence.” The biography covers a man who not only was a farmer, builder, insurance agent and “dungeon master,” but also a youth group leader whose passion was ballroom dancing.
Brian Stuckey was the first president of USA Dance Chapter 2094, which meets at the Milan Township hall on the third Saturday of nearly every month.
“He started that group,” his mother said.
Stories published by the Norwalk Reflector and Sandusky Register in 2012 indicate that the late Stuckey’s earliest signs of having ALS/Lou Gehrig’s disease came in November 2010. That was when he struggled doing his “trademark move” while rehearsing for a ballroom dancing showcase — “tossing his fedora and catching it with a quick curl of his index finger.”
“Brian reached out to everyone,” Alice Stuckey said. “He never wanted to be paid for youth ministry; he said it meant more to the kids (doing it free) than if he was accepting a paycheck.”
Her son’s philosophy of reaching out to all young people went beyond being a volunteer youth ministry leader at The Chapel in Norwalk and Sandusky. Stuckey said her son was known for not just connecting with teenagers at church, but also on the dance floor, where he would partner with any female — regardless of age or “if you had gray hair.”
“That’s how he met his second girlfriend,” she added.
A 2012 Reflector story says Brian Stuckey wanted women and girls who didn’t have a dance partner at social events to feel special, so he would dance with them. Alice Stuckey said the photo on the front cover of her book epitomizes who her son was — a smiling man wearing a fedora dancing with a friend’s daughter.
“He reached out to the sidelines … to those who couldn’t be reached,” Stuckey said. “When he wasn’t talking to people, he’d be dancing.”