George Thomas "Eckie" Eckert, 59, of Tamaqua, formerly of Pottsville, died unexpectedly Monday, Feb. 11, in Tamaqua.
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The Roma was more than a pizza shop for many, it was their home during their childhood and teenage years.Eck helped many of the youth throughout the Coal Regions regardless of their lot in life.
- He owned and operated Roma Pizza, Tamaqua, from the early 1970s through the late 1980s.
After closing the pizza shop, he went to work as a security guard at the Warnersville Home, then took a position in the kitchen at the Mahanoy City Correctional Institution until his recent retirement.
He was affectionately known by the inmates as "Big Poppa."
Eck was an avid supporter of all regional sports from youth through high school. He cheered for every color uniform.
Eck held season tickets to Penn State football and the Philadelphia Eagles for many years and supplied half of Schuylkill County with their first-ever experience of seeing a big time sporting event.
He was a graduate of Pottsville Area High School, where he played on the football team.
Although his parents preceded him in death, and his immediate family had passed on, he was a father, uncle or brother to many he called friend.
With his friend, "Big Joe," he was a DJ with the moniker given to him at his job, "Big Poppa."
Born in Pottsville, he was a son of the late George "Sparky" and Regina "Dolly" (Feeney) Eckert.
Surviving are an aunt and cousins, as well as each and every heart he touched.
He was also preceded in death by a brother Robert.
Service: Funeral service 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, E. Franklin Griffiths Funeral Home, 655 E. Broad St., Tamaqua. Interment, Schuylkill Memorial Park, Schuylkill Haven. Call 6-8 p.m. Wednesday and 10-11 a.m. Thursday. Contributions in his name may be made to the Tamaqua Area High School Athletic Dept., Stadium Hill, Tamaqua, Pa. 18252, or the Tamaqua Area Little League Assoc., 986 Catawissa Rd., Tamaqua, Pa. 18252. Online registry and condolences may be signed at www.griffithsfuneralhomes.com.