Gary Eckles, 69, passed away on August 21, 2020 at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Gary was born on August 17, 1951 in Canton, Ohio. The oldest of three boys, he excelled in both academic and athletic endeavors throughout childhood. Following a passion for logic and debate, Gary obtained a B.A. from Bowling Green State University (1973) and a M.A. from University of Massachusetts (1976) in Communication Theory. A gifted orator, he won numerous national debate awards throughout his collegiate career. Gary's great joy came from mentoring and educating students from all backgrounds. With specialties in rhetoric, debate, and communication theory, he was a professor/instructor for over 40 years at Thomas Nelson Community College, College of William & Mary, Old Dominion University, Christopher Newport University, and West Virginia Wesleyan College. A most dependable and loving person, Gary was a true friend and father figure to many. A lifelong fan of Cleveland sports, puns, and ethnic cuisine, Gary developed myriad personal and professional friendships throughout his life. An avid lover and supporter of the arts, he attended innumerable musical and theatrical events. Gary always put family first. He was an incredible father, a fierce and loyal friend, and the best grandfather. In retirement, he found his true calling as "Poppa" for his grandchildren and a host of others.
He is survived by his four children and seven grandchildren: son Brinton, his wife Megan, and their children Fern, Theodore, and Magnolia, of Nellysford, Virginia; daughter Ashley, her husband Chris, and their children Stella, Arya, and Emelia, of Waynesboro, Virginia; son Evan and his partner Gabriela, of Seattle, Washington; daughter Meredith, her husband Calvin, and their daughter Charlie, of Richmond, Virginia; and countless friends.
In lieu of flowers, we humbly ask donations be made in Gary's honor to any of the following organizations: VHSL at https://www.vhsl.org/about-vhsl/
, Chesapeake Bay Foundation at https://www.cbf.org/
, or St. Jude at https://www.stjude.org/
. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a large service is not feasible, so the family will make a memorial book for Gary. Please send your contributions of stories, pictures, jokes, recipes, and all things Gary/Professor Eckles, as well as your address for distribution, to email@example.com by the end of September.