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Fr. William Eckert

Fr. William Eckert

1927 - 2013

LENOX Reverend William F. Eckert, 85, died peacefully on Friday, January 18, 2013, surrounded by his loving family at Providence Care in Lenox, MA.

Father Eckert was born in Jersey City, NJ on March 12, 1927. He was the son of William Eckert and Mary (McDermott) Eckert. He graduated Wood-Ridge High School in Wood-Ridge, NJ. Following graduation, he entered the Navy to serve his country during World War II. After his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1946, Father Eckert entered Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. He graduated in 1950, and started a career at Traveler's Insurance Company.

Realizing he had a religious vocation, Father Eckert studied three years at the Maryknoll Seminaries and three years at Our Lady of Angels Seminary in Albany, NY. He was ordained a priest into the Diocese of Camden, NJ on May 16, 1964. The following year, Father Eckert was granted permission to labor in the Brazilian Missions. He was pastor of Cure d' Ares parish in the capitol city of Brasilia. One of his first tasks was building a church for his parishioners. While building the church and speaking with the laborers, he was told that there was no school for their children. After the church was complete, Father Eckert proceeded to build a school.

After serving eight years in Brazil, Father Eckert returned to the United States and was assigned to the Diocese of Camden. Father Eckert was Chaplain at Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, NJ as well as several other NJ parishes over the years. Father Eckert was also National Chaplain for the Christian Family Movement.

Father Eckert was an avid reader and author. For many years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column for the Catholic Star Herald. In 1976 he wrote "The Passion of Jesus Christ: A Meditation," which was a version of the passion play told through the eyes of Judas. This play was performed for several years during Lent at St. Isadore's Church in Vineland, NJ. Father Eckert also wrote books on Meditation and in 1997 founded the Joseph House, a center for prayer and Christian meditation. Originally located in Ocean City, NJ, the Joseph House was moved to Vineland in 2004. Father Eckert retired from the Diocese of Camden in July 1994. He moved to Massachusetts to be near his family where he served at St. Mark Church in Pittsfield. Father Eckert was fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish and would often say Mass for the Brazilian parishioners in Pittsfield.

Father Eckert is survived by a sister, Patricia E. Kerr of Pittsfield, and a brother, Barry Eckert and his wife Jeanne of Guilderland, NY. He is also survived by three nieces, Irene Coviello and her husband, John, Patricia A. O'Brien and Diane Mora. He is survived by six nephews, Joseph Gagen and his wife Vera, Leonard Light and his wife Diane, Christopher Light and his wife Gail, William Light and his wife Donna, David Gagen and James Kerr and his wife Tammie as well as many great and great- great nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by three sisters, Irene Arata, Mildred Gagen and Rosemary Light. He was also predeceased by a nephew, William Gagen.

Father Eckert loved movies, books and the New York Giants. He had a great sense of humor as well as great human compassion. The lives he touched cannot be measured. He will always be in hearts of those who knew him.

FUNERAL NOTICE: A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held Friday, January 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM at St. Mark Church, 400 West Street, Pittsfield, MA concelebrated by the Most Reverend Timothy A. McDonnell, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield. Burial will follow in the family plot at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Pittsfield. Fr. Eckert will repose at St Mark Church on Thursday from 4 to 7 PM. A Vigil Service will follow at 7:00 PM.

The omission of flowers is requested and donations in memory of Father Eckert may be made to the in care of the DERY FUNERAL Home, 54 Bradford Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201 which has been entrusted with arrangements.

Funeral Home

Dery Funeral Home
54 Bradford Street Pittsfield, MA 01201
(413) 443-9151

Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Jan. 22, 2013
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