Dr. John Stuckey Eckman, Professor Emeritus of English, John Tyler Community College, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Saturday evening, Feb. 11, 2017...
Dr. John Stuckey Eckman, Professor Emeritus of English, John Tyler Community College, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Saturday evening, Feb. 11, 2017, at the age of 89 after two years of declining health.
Dr. Eckman was born in Carthage, Mo., on March 18, 1927, to John Adam and Mary Josephine Stuckey Eckman. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Marian Ruth Merker, and his first wife, Laura Cabell Eckman.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Robin DesJardin Eckman; their daughter, Sarah Josephine Eckman; her fiancé, Shaun Michael Sargent; a nephew, Richard Leonard Merker; niece, Phyllis Merker Hill; a great-niece, Melissa Hill Youmons; and his canine companion, Nixie.
Dr. Eckman graduated from Carthage High School in 1945 and was delighted to be able to attend his 70th class reunion in May of 2015. While in high school, he joined the Junior ROTC and Navy V-12 unit at Central Missouri University. He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII from 1945-46.
John earned a BA in history and English from Central Missouri in 1948; an MA in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1954; and a PhD in English/English education from Ball State University in 1979.
He began his teaching career at UT but moved to Pittsburgh after his first marriage and worked in public relations for Alcoa and later, for Bowater's Paper Company in Athens, Tenn., doing technical writing and editing in-house magazines and newsletters. After about seven years, he returned to his first love, teaching, accepting a position at Tennessee Wesleyan College where his proudest accomplishment was taking his award-winning debate team to a competition at Harvard. While working on his doctorate, John Tyler Community College recruited him in 1971 to be chairman of the Arts and Sciences Division, and he was instrumental in starting the Art, Child Care/Teacher Aide, and Human Services programs. He taught writing, literature and speech at JTCC until his retirement in 2002. Regardless of whether he was teaching developmental writing or the works of his favorite 18th century British authors, he thoroughly enjoyed interacting with his students of all ages and abilities. John enjoyed all forms of music (especially Beethoven) and regularly attended a variety of theater performances and art exhibits. He was passionate about keeping up with the news and national politics, but also liked diving deeper back into history. He enjoyed the antics of animals, including those of his pets and the backyard wildlife. In retirement, he traveled to many new places, but his favorite ones were always the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and his vacation home in Beech Mountain, N.C., where he enjoyed hiking, photographing nature, and going to craft shows. He had great interest in the people and culture of Appalachia. When he loved somebody, it was with his whole heart. He was so proud and supportive of his three Mary Washington ladies -- Laura, Robin, and Sarah -- encouraging them in all of their activities and passions, thereby enabling them to become strong, competent women. Throughout the period of his declining health, John was always cheerful, uncomplaining, and optimistic that he would get better. Before meeting him, Robin was told he was too nice for his own good and that proved to be so very true.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m., at St. John's Episcopal Church in Chester, followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions to the Appalachian Service Project or BARK animal rescue.