Mark E. Eckard
October 22, 1956 - October 2, 2017
Los Angeles, CA
Mark Edwin Eckard of North Hollywood, California died on October 2, 2017 of an apparent heart attack while playing basketball with friends at the YMCA near his home. He was 60 years old.
Although he was unpretentious in his manner, to his family and friends Mark will be lovingly remembered as a man of remarkable intellect, sophistication, and wit. He was curious about all manner of things; and it was this curiosity, coupled with his intellectual gift, which led him to excel in mathematics, science, history, literature, and the arts.
Mark was also athletically talented. Although he played basketball frequently, he was only a sporadic golfer who always seemed to break 80 with his illmatched or borrowed clubs.
He was a precocious child, memorizing and reciting "Twas The Night Before Christmas" during a church service at the age of five. He excelled in school – studying with Dr. Carl Sagan at Cornell University during the summer of his junior year at Dallastown High School. After graduating as co-valedictorian of his class in 1974, he enrolled at MIT to study math and physics. However, after his second year his interests shifted prompting him to transfer to the University of Southern California where he studied film and graduated with a degree in Literature. After working in York as a technical writer, he relocated to the Boston area in the 1980s to work as a software designer and engineer for Epsilon Data Management. It was while at Epsilon that he met the love of his life and intellectual equal, Sarah.
Mark then became a freelance designer of software systems and educational websites, which enabled him and Sarah to spend the winters on the beach in Santa Monica, CA. It was during the winter of 2001 that Mark appeared on and became an undefeated five-time Jeopardy champion. He also participated in the 2001 Jeopardy Tournament of Champions and the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions.
Mark and Sarah relocated to the Los Angeles area in 2008, where Mark was able to pursue his passion for writing. He has written plays, screenplays, short stories and was midway through his first novel. There was just a dramatic reading of his play "Vavilov's Garden" in April of this year at Cal Tech. In short, Mark was a true renaissance man. Sadly he was taken from us far too soon to fulfill his literary promise.
Mark was the husband and best friend of artist, Sarah Hage. He is survived by his parents, Ken and Joann Eckard; his brother, Ken Eckard; and his sisters, Karen Wolf (and her husband, Joe Wolf) and Jennifer Malehorn; as well as his nieces and nephews, Jason and Adam Wolf, Elliot and Elizabeth Eckard, and Katie and Brian Malehorn. He is also survived by his brothers-in-law, Joe and John Hage; their wives, Traci and Lydia, and their children, Luke, Joelle, Isabelle, Giuliana and Gabriela; and his sister-in-law, Catherine Hage.
A memorial for Mark was held in Los Angeles recently. A Celebration of Life will be held at Temple Baptist Church, 2550 Pine Grove Road, York, PA 17403 on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 10 a.m. Old friends are invited. The hearts of Mark's family and friends are broken by their loss. In memory of Mark, please hug your family and close friends and tell them that you love them; because you never know if they will be here tomorrow.
Published in York Daily Record on Oct. 8, 2017.