Gilbert Milligan Tucker, Jr. was born on November 3, 1880, the son of Gilbert Milligan, Sr. a successful editor of agricultural magazines, and Sarah Edwards Miller. He was also the grandson of Luther Tucker, founder, and editor of Albany County Gentlemen, an American magazine on farming and rural life. Gilbert attended Albany Academy and later Cornell University, graduating in 1901. After university, he entered into the family business as an assistant editor.
In 1912 at the age of 32, Gilbert was in Europe with his sister and parents gathering materials on farming practices when he met three women; Lily Potter, her niece Olive Earnshaw, and Olive’s friend Margaret Bechstein Hays. Margaret caught Gilbert’s eye and began to court her, convincing his family to that he should escort them through Europe. While en route back to the U.S. a coal strike in Britain deterred their travel plans but learned about the RMS Titanic, and secured first-class tickets; Gilbert occupied cabin C-53.
When the Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, Lily Olive, Margaret, her dog, and Gilbert were one of the first in line to evacuate. Gilbert was initially excluded due to the women and children protocol but eventually joined them while the lifeboat being lowered into the sea. He is quoted in the Times-Union saying “When the boat was about 15 feet below the rail, my friends called to me to come along, and with one or two other men I slid down the ropes.” In total, 15 people were in lifeboat number seven which was rescued by the Carpathia hours later. In total, the ship had 20 lifeboats, with a majority of the lifeboats having the capacity of 65 people. The ship was initially to have 32, but several were removed from the ship’s deck for aesthetic purposes.
Gilbert and Margaret ended their courtship, though they stayed in contact with each other. While on-board the Carpathia, she met two young boys who only spoke French. The boys became known as the “Titanic Orphans,” having escaped the sinking ship on a later lifeboat. As she was fluent in the language, she took them under her care until their natural mother came to New York City and be reunited with them.
In 1921 Gilbert married Mildred Penrose Stewart, the couple resided in Glenmont in the Rock Hill Estate and later in Pines Hills neighborhood of Albany. Gilbert took up an office in the D&H Building serving as an editor to the family’s magazine, as well as work with the Albany Institute of History and Art.
From 1918 – 1933 Gilbert was the Supervisor of Exhibits with the New York State Health Department’s Division of Public Health Education. He wrote articles and created exhibits and films about epidemiology and health maintenance. He was also responsible for establishing the Healthmobile, an automobile that traveled around the state, even to areas which had no electricity, showing motion pictures on health.
Gilbert wrote four books on tax-reform following the writings of economist Henry George. At the end of World War II, he wrote The Self-Supporting City, which offers a program for any city to move from self-destruction to economic sanity and prosperity through public investment made in infrastructure and services. Being known as Albany’s most notably Georgist, he served a term as the President for the Economic Education League, and President of the Association for Economic Justice. He also served on the board of directors of the Henry George and Schalkenbach Foundation.
Gilbert moved California in 1965 and resided in Monterey County. He died away three years later on February 26, 1968, and was cremated. His remains were sent to Albany where he is interred in his grandfather’s plot.