Dcn. Richard Eckert
Born: Aug. 4, 1932
Ordained: Nov. 4, 1989
Service in the Diocese of Phoenix:
Nov. 1989-Feb. 1991: Our Lady of the Valley, Phoenix
Feb. 1991-Aug. 2013: St. Margaret Mary, Bullhead City
Died: Jan. 16, 2019
Jan. 29 (What would be his 64th wedding anniversary)
St. Joan of Arc, 3801, E. Greenway Rd., Phoenix
Rosary: 9:30 a.m.
Mass: 10 a.m.
Interment: 2 p.m., National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Rd., Phoenix
to St. Vincent de Paul
The diocesan Office of the Diaconate is mourning a back-to-back loss of two servants who also proudly wore the hat of husband and father of six.
Dcn. Richard Eckert passed away Jan. 16 at the age of 86. His death followed that of Dcn. Gilbert Lopez a day prior.
“Dcn. Dick,” as most knew him, was among 22 men ordained Nov. 4, 1989. He spent a little over a year at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Phoenix before moving to St. Margaret Mary in Bullhead City in 1991 where he served the bulk of his diaconal ministry.
“One thing he particularly loved was Baptism preparation,” said Dcn. Ron TenBarge who served with him at St. Margaret Mary. It gave him great joy to see the little ones though his own family was “his greatest joy and accomplishment,” according to his official obituary. He officiated at family weddings and baptisms for 29 years.
Particularly while at St. Margaret Mary, Dcn. Dick mentored younger deacons. Dcn. TenBarge called him “the senior guy who guided us,” especially in his first year or two of ministry.
“You’re always itchy about the first baptism you do, the first wedding you do, the first homily you give,” Dcn. TenBarge said. “Dcn. Dick” provided a sense of calm mixed with heartfelt wisdom gained from experience.
Dcn. Eckert returned to the Valley in 2013 for cancer treatment and joined St. Joan of Arc Parish. He was a regular face, alongside his wife, Eleanore, at the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul conference. Donations to SVdP in his name are requested in lieu of flowers.
His secular careers included electronics work in the U.S. Navy followed by pioneering modern business systems in companies including Xerox, Honeywell and GE. Another career had Dcn. Eckert labeled as a pit boss at a Laughlin casino.
He is survived by his wife and six children, 19 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. One grandson preceded him in death.