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Charles Franklin Eck Jr.

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Charles Franklin Eck Jr. Notice


Charles Franklin Eck. Jr., who owned American Lubrication Equipment Co. and was a long-time member and former board member of the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club, died peacefully at home in the early morning on Saturday, June 20, of advanced kidney cancer. He was 79. Franklin, as he was known to friends, was a supporter of many institutions and causes, including Green Mount Cemetery as a former board member, Paul's Place, The Walters Art Museum, Lehigh University, and St. John's Episcopal Church. An avid golfer, he was also a member of Saucon Valley Country Club and the Chevy Chase Club. He assumed control of his family's business in 1980 and grew it into a national distributor of industrial equipment with offices in Hunt Valley, Maryland and Anaheim, California. He was among the first in his industry to diversify his base with ventures in China, Italy, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Franklin was known for his keen business sense, his absolute integrity, and his firm adherence to practicing the Aloha spirit, which grew in him from the time he first visited the Hawaiian Islands in 1953. Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Charles Franklin Eck and Viola Bryant. Franklin grew up on Good Fellowship Farm on Cromwell Bridge Road, showing his father's champion livestock and helping his mother run their working farm during World War II, often remembering the experience of delivering milk and butter to neighbors and watching the German prisoners of war on their way to work in the fields. A state champion wrestler at The Gilman School and a varsity wrestler at Lehigh University, Franklin carried life-long allegiances to both schools and to the friends he made there. He was a member of the advisory board of the Lehigh Wrestling Partnership. After college he served in the United States Army as a First Lieutenant, spending most of his time as a shooting instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia. He married Martha "Tinker" Howell of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1960 and had two sons, Charles Franklin Eck III and Eben Caldwell Eck, who succeeded his father as president of American Lubrication Equipment. The company was successful in navigating the watershed trends in the small manufacturing economy of consolidation, globalization, and online sales and in making strategic investments in commercial real estate in Maryland and California. After Franklin and Tinker's divorce, he remarried Bailey Urban Morris in 1995. While Franklin's public achievements as a businessman and philanthropist were significant, his most lasting impact will be felt privately by all who loved and learned from him. He cared for his family first and many others with nearly the same devotion. He is survived by his wife Bailey Morris-Eck; his sister Susanne Higinbothom; his sons; his daughter-in-law Joan Eck; his step-children, Caroline and Giles Morris; and his grandchildren Haley, Tucker, Aidan, Annie, and Oliver Eck. Burial will be private. His family plans to celebrate his life with a memorial service on his birthday, Saturday, September 26, 2015. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the newly created garden memorial at St. Johns Episcopal Church, Glyndon. Donations can be sent to: St. John's Church, Western Run Parish C. Franklin Eck Memorial 3738 Butler Rd Reisterstown, MD 21136
Published in Baltimore Sun on June 23, 2015
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