In the weeks leading up to his honeymoon the adventurous Jared Tucker was "so excited, really excited he finally got to go to Europe, it was his first time".
In the weeks leading up to his wedding anniversary trip through Italy, France and Spain, the adventurous Jared Tucker was “so excited, really excited he finally got to go to Europe, it was his first time,” good friend Billy Claraty told PEOPLE.
Thursday night, Tucker, 42, and wife Heidi Nunes-Tucker, 40, were in the popular Las Ramblas area of Barcelona, enjoying drinks in an outside restaurant before a van began plowing through pedestrians. Tucker, of California, was one of 13 people killed in the terror attack.
By Friday night, Claraty, 41, was en route to Spain with Nunes-Tucker’s father, Mike Nunes, to help Nunes-Tucker deal with the aftermath of the fun-loving man’s death.
Tucker, who was excited to share this special anniversary trip with his soul mate, never mentioned any hesitation about visiting Europe, despite it being the target of a series of deadly terror attacks in recent years.
“He didn’t live a life afraid, he didn’t have fear of anything,” says Claraty, who attended the same high school as Tucker in Walnut Creek, California. “He took things head on all the time and thought he would get through it. They were just out to celebrate one year and have a great time and see some friends.”
Dan Tucker, Jared’s dad, received pictures from Heidi as the couple’s journey unfolded.
“When I look at the pictures Heidi sent to us, even the day before the tragedy, he was happy,” says Tucker. “I could just tell he was really really enjoying himself.”
Tucker saw the awful images of the attack, and believes the accident was so severe that Jared was either killed instantly or never regained consciousness.
“In my heart,” he says, “I feel he died a happy person.”
Jared Tucker’s joie de vivre was contagious.
“Jared is probably the nicest guy anybody could meet, if you talked to any one of his friends they would say they would call him their best friend,” says Claraty, an electrician.
“He is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, open his house up to you at any time, drop what he is doing to come over and do any kind of project you needed.”
No one could resist Tucker’s big, fun personality, one that made everyone want to hang out with him.
Claraty described Tucker, who had a swimming pool resurfacing business with his father, as a fearless lover of life — a devoted father to his three teenage daughters and an outdoorsman who felt the ocean was “his happy space.”
Tucker surfed in Costa Rica, off Mexico and in the Pacific, fished, and dove for abalone. “He loved the outdoors,” says Claraty, “and getting dirty.”
As large as Tucker’s love for the outdoors was his devotion to his friends. When Claraty had issues with relationships and needed a place to stay, Tucker opened up his home for months at a stretch.
“He said, ‘Stay with me, I’m here for you,'” Claraty recalls. “Anything you need, I’m here.'”
In September of 2012 at an art and wine festival in Lafayette, California, Tucker opened his heart to Nunes, a teacher and the mother of a teenage son.
“When he met her, it was immediate, they both knew,” says Claraty. “Heidi was his total life, they had a great, amazing relationship. He had a bumpy road for awhile with past relationships and once he met Heidi that turned around for him.”
A website set up for his wedding to Nunes shows they were married on Aug. 6, 2016, after becoming engaged on Sept. 10, 2015.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Tucker’s family to cover funeral costs and help raise money to go towards his daughters’ education.