County director of elections succumbs to cancer

As Blair County’s director of elections, Ingrid Healy-Tucker will be remembered for her congenial personality and an ability to work with others.

“She was a wonderful boss,” Assistant Director of Elections Sarah Seymour said Monday. “She was very good natured and very organized.”

But the Altoona woman will be remembered for her love of animals, too, including the adoption of a quadriplegic cat and a dog in need of $2,000 worth of dental care. Ingrid’s husband, Michael Tucker, said the cat, about 12 years old, is staying with Ingrid’s mother. The Pekingese named Willie had its dental work done and remains with him.

“Throughout the whole cancer thing, she kept living,” Tucker said.

Healy-Tucker, 54, died Saturday at Altoona Regional after losing a fight with colon cancer diagnosed in November 2011. Please see her obituary on Page A5.

“We’ve been through a lot since then, and she never gave up hope,” Tucker said.

Although she had some pain, Healy-Tucker was on the job for last fall’s presidential election from the early preparation stage to the post-election wrap-up. In between, she handled training sessions for those who staff the county’s 97 precincts.

“She wanted to do it, and she mustered up the energy,” Tucker said. “It was something she had to do.”

Blair County Commissioner Ted Beam Jr. said Monday that the county will miss Healy-Tucker’s dedication and knowledge.

When commissioners hired Healy-Tucker in August 2008, the former director of the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society had little knowledge of the election process. On her second day of the job, she went to Erie for a meeting of county election officials.

“She jumped right in with both feet,” Chief Clerk Helen Schmitt recalled. “And talk about initiation by fire, her first election was a presidential election, and she handled it.”

Schmitt said Healy-Tucker brought a positive outlook and fresh ideas into the elections office. She prepared voter education materials not only for the public but also for the candidates and those who staff the polls. In the years since, she said Healy-Tucker gained respect and cooperation of everyone involved in the spring and fall elections.

“Ingrid was a hard worker, very conscientious about doing her job,” said retired courthouse employee Cheryl Plunkett, who worked on election nights. “And she was a sweet person.”

Seymour said her boss kept meticulous notes,which have been very helpful in keeping up with day-to-day tasks.

“When she was out on medical leave, I could rely on her notes,” Seymour said.

Schmitt praised Healy-Tucker’s ability to be prepared and to know what needed to be done.

“She was well liked by all who had the privilege to work with her,” Schmitt said.