Debbie Tucker of Niangua, Missouri works for Emerson Climate Technologies in Lebanon, Missouri as a lathe operatore and fork truck operator. Photo by Laura L. Valenti.
Photo by Laura L. Valenti

Hometown: Niangua, Mo. 

Family: Sons Mark and Caleb, and her mother Eunice Howard

In Town: Debbie Tucker moved to the Ozarks in December 2016 from Greer, S.C., two days before Christmas. She has worked almost five years for Emerson Climate Technologies in Lebanon, Mo., as a lathe operator and fork truck operator. 

Besides going to work, she says she comes to Lebanon from her home in Webster County, to shop and go to church. 

“I researched Cross Creek Church in Lebanon on the internet before I ever moved here and it is the only church I have attended since I moved to the Ozarks,” she added.

In the Country: “Growing up, I always wanted to live on a farm. I grew up in the city and my dad, David Rulapaugh, who still lives in South Carolina, was also a city kid. My mom was a Colorado mountain girl. When my mom started looking on the internet at land for sale in the Ozarks, I looked, too. She never bought anything but I ended up buying my 40 acres right here in Webster County. This same amount of land would have cost me close to four times as much back in South Carolina.

“I always thought I would grow up and marry a farmer and be a farmer’s wife. That was my dream.” 

Instead, she was widowed 15 years ago when her husband Corey was killed in a motorcycle accident, hit from behind by another vehicle.

“I started with the $60 he had in his pocket and the church I was attending at the time, offered me a job in their children’s ministry. My boys and I started over from there. I also worked in retail, and then finally in farm work with horses, cattle and alpacas.”

At the moment Debbie has a few head of cattle, chickens, dogs and 20 cats. 

“My cattle were bottle babies, steers, but I plan to buy more this spring,” Debbie said.

She recently bought her first tractor, an older Allis-Chalmers, and a cattle trailer.

Life may not have turned out exactly as she once thought, envisioning herself as a farmer’s wife, but it is obvious, with her ready laugh and bright smile, Debbie is happy to be on 40 acres in the Ozarks, with an eye on the future as a farmer, all on her own. 


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