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GREAT FALLS —Lester Eck, 93, of Great Falls, passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at his home.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, May 5, 2014 at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel. Refreshments will follow at Schnider Funeral Home. Schnider Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Les was born in Gonvick, Minnesota on July 10, 1920, the son of Alice and Oscar Eck. He was raised on the family farm along with three brothers, Wallace, Charles and Russell. He married his high school sweetheart, Irene Ellesson on September 21, 1940. They had four children, David, Dennis, Dianne and Dwight before moving to Montana in 1948.
After a short stint of farming and serving in the Army in Okinawa during WW II, Les had a very successful career in the meat business. He took a job in Opheim, Montana as a meat cutter and shortly thereafter the life changing event of his career happened. He was hired to be the managing meat cutter of the Buttrey Foods store in Fort Peck and subsequently worked his way up to meat manager positions in larger and larger stores in Wolf Point, Missoula and Butte. He was eventually named Vice President of Meat Operations and he and Irene moved to the Buttrey Foods headquarters in Great Falls in 1948. He retired in 1982.
Les was highly involved in Faith Lutheran Church upon arriving in Great Falls in and was an active volunteer in the Salvation Army where he was on the board and was once named volunteer of the year. He was also active in the Sons of Norway, Elks Club, Sons of Pioneers, the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, the Senior Center and Meals on Wheels. He was always up for ringing the bells for the Salvation Army, making meatballs at the Sons of Norway, organizing soup suppers at his church and doing just about anything that could help someone in need.
He was an avid outdoorsman and his hobbies and sports included hunting, fishing, baseball, ski bum trips, gym workouts, coffee klatches, men's prayer breakfast and wood carving. He enjoyed many happy days water skiing and boating with his family and friends at their cabins on Georgetown and Holter Lakes. He once related that his favorite memories were of all the nice people he learned to know, the success he enjoyed in the workplace and spending time with his family and his many friends.
He was very proud of his family and is survived by his wife of 73 years, Irene Eck; four children, David Eck of Alameda, CA, Dennis (Gretchen) Eck of Las Vegas, NV, Dianne (Roy) Moody of Albuquerque, NM and Dwight (Pam) Eck of Boise, ID; seven grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; and many remaining loyal and wonderful friends who are also considered part of his extended family. As one of his grandchildren stated: "He rode a very long train and had a good life!"
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Salvation Army, 1000 17th Ave. S., Great Falls, MT 59405.
Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.schniderfuneralhome.com.
Schnider Funeral Home
1510 13th Street South Great Falls, MT 59405-4501
Published in Great Falls Tribune on May 2, 2014