Harold James Eckman “Harry” passed peacefully at home in the early morning on Sunday, January 17, 2021 after a valiant battle with Cancer. God answered the Miracle that he asked for as he marked his 65th wedding anniversary on December 31st, 2020.
Harold was born on September 29, 1932 in Wakpala, South Dakota on the Standing Rock Sioux Native American Reservation. He was preceded in death by his father, Leo Frances Eckman; mother, Elizabeth McLean Eckman; brothers, Leo (Buzz), and Paul (Arnold); sisters, Loraine, Marie, and Adele; and granddaughter, Emily Eckman.
After his father died at an early age, Harold moved to the Vanport area of Portland, Oregon with his mother Elizabeth. During the Vanport flood of 1948 the family lost everything except the clothing on their backs. This event helped shape Harold’s strong work ethic and commitment to family for the remainder of his life.
Harold graduated from Benson High School in Portland, Oregon, where he played football and was selected for the Shriner’s All-Star Team. While having earned a scholarship to Portland State University, circumstances led Harold to become a United States Marine. From 1952 until 1955, Harold served on the USS Yorktown in Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Hawaii. After his service in the U.S. Marine Corp, Harold attended Multnomah Technical Institute, Portland State University and Chicago Institute of Design and Engineering.
On December 31st, 1955 Harold married Jeanette Eskildsen at St. Agatha’s Catholic Church in Portland, Oregon. Harold and Jeanette eventually settled in Milwaukie, Oregon after purchasing a home where they would ultimately raise their family.
As a father, Harold participated with his children in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H Electricity Classes and lapidary (rock hounding) among many other activities. Harold attended every event he could for his son, daughters, and grandchildren. He was a devoted family man, spending many a weekend camping and fishing with family. Tumalo State Park and Crooked River Ranch were two of the favorites among many others. There were also many summer road trips to national parks and South Dakota. Harold exemplified what a father should be.
He opened his home to many children and exchange students and was loved as a father by all. He was a host father to 27 International exchange students from many countries including Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and Korea. Harold spent many late nights helping some of these students learn and improve their English skills. Harold remained in contact with most of them over the years and was able to visit many of the student’s families in their home countries.
Harold spent the majority of his working life at Cadet Manufacturing as a design engineer. He was highly respected by his peers, was a strong mentor and often privately helped others in need. Throughout much of his adult life Harold was an active member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Milwaukie, Oregon. He was a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus and at one time held the position of Grand Knight.
In his retirement, Harold traveled extensively, including many cruises with his wife Jeanette along with trips to Europe and Asia. Harold also volunteered his time at the Milwaukie Senior Center for various events and often delivered food boxes to people in need. He met regularly with his retired Cadet co-workers and loved these conversations. Harold’s family thanks these co-workers for their kindness and friendship.
Harold is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jeanette Eskildsen Eckman; son, David Eckman (wife, Jo Ann); daughters, Mary Ann Casey (husband, John), and Janine Beth Organiz (husband, Elizandro); grandchildren, Ashley Eckman, Daniel Eckman, Jacob Casey, Ryan Casey, and Ramon Organiz. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews and others that were special in his life including Lisa Sweet (husband, Howard) and Todd Freeman.
Harold was a “Gentle Soul” and was always there for others. Throughout his life Harold put others before himself and maintained the utmost respect for his wife. He wanted no praise or special attention and often gave credit to others for a job well done. He was thankful for the achievements of his children and grandchildren and lived his Faith. Harold was a blessing to us all and had a life well-lived.
Harold’s only request was to do something nice for others in his name and memory, along with prayers for him and his family.
with Full Military Honors
and Knights of Columbus
to be held Summer of 2021
Willamette National Cemetery
(please check back for updated service information)
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