John “Jack” Eckels, 84, of Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — John “Jack” Eckels died peacefully in his sleep on Oct. 4, 2021, at Helen Porter Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Middlebury, Vt. He was born, the youngest of three children, in Littleton, N.H., on March 21, 1937. He, his sister Ann, and brother Don spent most of their young lives in Laconia, N.H. There he developed a love of skiing and enjoyed competing on the ski team. Jack attended the University of New Hampshire (UNH), where he continued to ski competitively and graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After working as a mechanical engineer, he decided that he wanted to work with young adults and not machines. So he went back to UNH, obtained a Masters’ Degree in mathematics, met Carol, his wife of 56 years, and obtained his teacher’s license. He also spent eight years in the Marine Corps Reserve.
In 1969, Jack and Carol moved to Middlebury, where they raised their family. Jack taught math and coached skiing at Middlebury Union High School (MUHS) for 30 years. His ski teams won numerous Vermont ski championships, including 13 Girls Nordic Skiing titles, and also one New England ski championship. He and Carol started the first Bill Koch Ski League for young skiers in the Middlebury area. Jack’s skiing and coaching were statewide. He also served as a judge for the biathlon ski event at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Upon retiring, Jack became a beekeeper, worked at a vegetable farm, and kept a fairly large garden. He and Carol also spent much time traveling, particularly to visit their children and grandchildren. Jack spent a lot of time catching his grandchildren’s kicked soccer balls in small apartments, building train tracks while sitting on floors, cutting out big boxes for the grandchildren to crawl into, playing dominoes and Uno as the kids grew older, following the kids going trick-or-treating in various cities, and many other activities that created happy memorable moments.
He is survived by his loving wife Carol (Jones) Eckels; his children Richard Eckels, William Eckels (Michelle), Catherine Lang (Larson), Jane Eckels (Hans), and Michael Eckels (Oxana); his grandchildren, Alex, Meredith, Bee, Ellie, Crispin, Felix, Bo, Stanley, Robert, Ben, and Bailey; his great-granddaughter Harper; and his sister Ann Eckels Bailie. He was pre-deceased by his parents, his brother Don, his granddaughter Wren, and his daughter-in-law, Beth.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, at 1:30 p.m., at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Middlebury, with the Rev. Luke Austin as the celebrant.
The family requests if you are attending the service to please wear a mask.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Elderly Services, P.O. Box 581, Middlebury, VT 05753, or the American Parkinson Disease Association, Parkinson Plaza, 135 Parkinson Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305-1425.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Sanderson-Ducharme Funeral Home. Online condolences at www.sandersonfuneralservice.com.◊