Celebration of Life: Henry George “Hank” Eckert

A celebration of Hank’s life will be held May 5, beginning at St. Rosalia’s Cemetery at 11 am with a full military honors graveside ceremony. The celebration will then move to Scandia Village, where there will be a service in the Gathering Room of the Meadows at 12:30 pm. All who knew Hank are invited to attend.

Husband, father, community leader and an unabashed people person, Hank Eckert passed away peacefully on January 27, 2018. He happily lived his 96 years in Door County. He is survived by his children: Anne Meyer of Menomonee Falls, Steve (Beverly) Eckert of Sturgeon Bay, Carol (Dave) Franke of Sister Bay, and Linda (Tom) Birmingham of Fish Creek. Also sister Evelyn Schoeneich of Wauwatosa, sister-in-law Joan Eckert and brothers-in-law Phillip Berns and Lester Berns. Hank had eight grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren plus many friends. He was preceded in death by wives Donna (Berns) and Dolores (Beschta): parents Henry and Bertha (Seiler) Eckert and siblings Lucille (Oodoo) Stadler and Carl (Buck) Eckert.

Growing up in Fish Creek, Hank lived in a log cabin built by his father. He had an idyllic childhood. At Gibraltar High School he served as class president for three years, was a co-captain of the football team and captain of the basketball team. In 1939 the basketball team won the Peninsula Conference Championship and he missed the conference scoring title by one point. Chosen as prom king in 1938, his future wife Donna Berns was prom queen.

After high school, he attended Ripon College, arriving with just $5 in his pocket. While in college, he waited on table, played basketball and participated in R.O.T.C. In 1943 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education.

Two weeks after graduation he was in the U.S. Army. At 23 he graduated from Infantry Officer School as a 2nd Lieutenant and soon left on a troop ship for Europe.

He fought at the Maginot Line and then in The Battle of the Bulge. The war was brutal. On January 1, 1945 Hank was nearly killed when leading his company while repelling a German counter-attack five miles inside Germany. He spent many months in military hospitals. Honorably discharged, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action, The Bronze Star, a Presidential Unit Citation, a Combat Infantry Badge and a Purple Heart.

Returning home he married his childhood sweetheart, Donna, and together they raised 4 children. Appointed by President Truman Hank served as Postmaster of Sister Bay for 30 years. As a community leader he was a member of the American Legion for 65 years. He led the veterans marching in the Baileys Harbor July 4 parade for 50 years. He was a longtime Boy Scout leader and received the Silver Beaver award. He also served as president of the Peninsula Golf Association, the Gibraltar High School Board of Education and the Sister Bay Lions Club.

After retiring from the post office Hank spent winters in Arizona enjoying friends and guests and golf. He shot a 70 when he was 70.

Since 2008 he had been a resident of SCAND enjoying the comradery of other residents, many of them childhood friends.

We will miss him dearly for his love, decency, generosity and class.

The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at SCAND for their loving care and support. Memorials can be made to the SCAND building fund in memory of Hank.

A celebration of Hank’s life will be held on Saturday May 5, 2018. We will begin at St. Rosalia’s cemetery at 11 AM with a full military honors graveside ceremony and then proceed to SCAND. All who knew Hank are invited to attend.

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