Edward Henry Eckert Jr., 69, of Inola, Okla., a devoted family man and retired postmaster for the U.S. Postal Service, died peacefully Friday surrounded by loved ones at the VNA Inpatient, Butler.
Born July 2, 1948, in Butler, Ed worked on his family’s dairy farm in Prospect and graduated in 1967 from Slippery Rock High School.
After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He completed basic training at Naval Station Great Lakes and served in such places as Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete and on the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67).
After leaving the service, Ed worked part-time as a mail clerk for the U.S. Postal Service in Butler while attending college. He received an associate’s degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He later worked as a mail carrier and as a supervisor at the bulk mail plant in Warrendale.
In 1985, Ed followed his love of horses and moved his family to Claremore, Okla., where he continued to work for the Postal Service. He later managed several post offices and retired in 2010 as a postmaster in Pryor, Okla.
His hobbies included cooking, painting and, most of all, training and showing horses, which he kept in pastures behind his homes. He taught equestrian classes at Rogers State University in Claremore and served on the board of the Oklahoma Buckskin Horse Association. In the latter role, he volunteered as a judge at horse show competitions until his health declined this summer.
Ed was a beloved father, grandfather, brother and father-in-law. He loved spending time with his daughters and granddaughter, whom he took on trips to the zoo and to the basement for tea parties.
He is survived by two daughters, Erin E. (Matthew) Amer of Hoboken, N.J., and Jessica E. (Brendan) McGarry of Kensington, Md.; and his granddaughter, Regan J. McGarry.
He is also survived by six sisters, Yvonne (Larry) Bowser of Rimersburg, Pa., Sara (Richard) Foust of Saxonburg, Pa., Patricia Angerett of Butler, Barbara Link of Mount Pleasant, Pa., Frances Robinson of Butler and Kathy (Randy) Kniess of Butler; two brothers, John (Charlene) Eckert of Butler and David Eckert of Prospect; and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents, the late Edward Henry Eckert Sr. and Jewell Grace Taylor of Butler; and two sisters, Anabelle Gill of Arizona and Margaret (Donald) Greenway of Slippery Rock.
The family extends its sincere gratitude to the nurses, doctors and staff at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Okla., and Butler Memorial Hospital in Butler for providing Ed with wonderful care during his final weeks.
A viewing for for Edward Henry Eckert Jr., who died Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Edward L. Raisley Funeral Home, 387 Main Street, Prospect.
A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with the Rev. Ron Schermerhorn, pastor of the Mt. Chestnut Presbyterian Church, officiating.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to VNA Inpatient Hospice, 115 Technology Dr., Butler, PA 16001.