Julius John Eckert

Funeral services for Julius John Eckert, 97, Peace Valley, Mo., were held at 2 p.m., Thursday, July 31, 2014, at the Langston Street Chapel of Robertson- Drago Funeral Home.

Mr. Eckert died at 4:35 a.m., Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at West Vue Nursing Center.

He was born March 18, 1917, in Bethlehem, Pa., to Harry James Eckert and Amy M. VanKeuren Eckert.

He graduated from Kingston High School, Kingston, N.Y., with the class of 1935 in the middle of the Great Depression.

On March 6, 1943, he was married in Laurel, Miss., to his 4-H sweetheart, Thelma T. Tucker. This year they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary.

He had a lifetime interest in growing plants and graduated from the State University of New York Agricultural and Technical Institute at Farmingdale, L.I., where he also earned a pilot’s license. In March 1942, he enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Mr. Eckert served as a pilot with the 69th Tactical Reconnaissance group until his separation from active duty at the end of World War II. His group saw action in the European Theatre, and he flew 13 combat missions in a P-51 mustang fighter.

After World War II, he served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and retired as a lieutenant colonel in March 1977. Mr. Eckert worked as a regional forester for the Department of Conservation in the State of New York, and retired after 32 years of service. In 2001, he was recognized as a 50-year member of the Society of American Foresters. In 2005 Julius and Thelma relocated to Peace Valley, Mo.

He is survived by four children: Judith Tompkins, husband, Dave, Peace Valley, Mo., Thomas Eckert, wife, Cheryl, Cape Vincent, N.Y., Jay Eckert, wife, Joanne, Frewsburg, N.Y., and Timothy Eckert, wife, Jane, Takaka, New Zealand; seven grandchildren: Shelly Cannon, husband, David, David “Rip” Tompkins, wife, Lisa, Carrie Siegman, husband, Gregg, Joshua Eckert, wife, Sarah, Adam Eckert, Andrew Eckert, wife, Jenny and Jesse Eckert; and 10 great-grandchildren.

His parents, one sister, Ethel O’Hara and one brother, Howard Eckert, precede him in death.

Burial will be in the New Hope Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Ozarks Food Harvest, and may be mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 West Main St., West Plains, MO 65775.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.robertsondrago.com.