Harold “Harry” James Eckman, 88, died peacefully at home in the early morning Sunday, Jan. 17, from cancer. A cemetery service will be held at Willamette National Cemetery with full military honors and the Knights of Columbus, in summer 2021. Please visit stehnfuneralhomes.com for updated service information as it is available.

Mr. Eckman was born on Sept. 29, 1932, in Wakpala, South Dakota, on the Standing Rock Sioux Native American Reservation, to Leo and Elizabeth McLean Eckman.

After his father died at an early age, Mr. Eckman moved to Vanport with his mother. During the Vanport flood of 1948 the family lost everything except the clothing on their backs. This event helped shape Mr. Eckman’s strong work ethic and commitment to family.

He played football and was selected for the Shriner’s All-Star Team at Benson High School in Portland. After graduation, although he had earned a scholarship to Portland State University, circumstances led Mr. Eckman to become a U.S. Marine. From 1952 until 1955, Mr. Eckman served on the USS Yorktown in Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Hawaii. After his service, Mr. Eckman attended Multnomah Technical Institute, Portland State University and Chicago Institute of Design and Engineering.

On Dec. 31, 1955, Mr. Eckman married Jeanette Eskildsen at St. Agatha Church in Portland. The couple bought a home in Milwaukie where they would raise their family.

They marked their 65th wedding anniversary Dec. 31.

As a father, Mr. Eckman participated with his children in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H Electricity classes, lapidary (rock hounding) and other activities. He attended every event he could for his son, daughters, and grandchildren. He was a devoted family man, spending many a weekend camping and fishing with family. Tumalo State Park and Crooked River Ranch were two favorites among many others. There were also many summer road trips to national parks and South Dakota. Mr. Eckman exemplified what a father should be.

He was loved as a father by all. He was a host father to 27 International exchange students from many countries including Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Korea. Mr. Eckman spent many late nights helping some of these students learn and improve their English skills. He remained in contact with most of them over the years and was able to visit many of the student’s families in their home countries.

Mr. Eckman spent most of his working life at Cadet Manufacturing as a design engineer. He was respected by his peers, was a strong mentor and often privately helped others in need. Throughout much of his adult life Mr. Eckman was an active member of St. John the Baptist Church in Milwaukie. He was a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus and at one time held the position of Grand Knight.

In his retirement, Mr. Eckman traveled extensively, including many cruises with his wife and trips to Europe and Asia. Mr. Eckman also volunteered at the Milwaukie Senior Center for various events and delivered food boxes to people in need. He met regularly with his retired Cadet co-workers and loved these conversations. Mr. Eckman’s family thanks these co-workers for their kindness and friendship.

Mr. Eckman is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jeanette Eskildsen Eckman; son, David Eckman (Jo Ann); daughters, Mary Ann Casey (John), and Janine Beth Organiz (Elizandro); grandchildren, Ashley Eckman, Daniel Eckman, Jacob Casey, Ryan Casey, and Ramon Organiz. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews and others who were special in his life including Lisa Sweet (Howard) and Todd Freeman.

Mr. Eckman was a “Gentle Soul” and was always there for others. Throughout his life Mr. Eckman put others before himself and maintained the utmost respect for his wife. He wanted no praise or special attention and often gave credit to others for a job well done. He was thankful for the achievements of his children and grandchildren and lived his Faith. Mr. Eckman was a blessing to us all and had a life well-lived.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Leo (Buzz), and Paul (Arnold); sisters, Loraine, Marie, and Adele; and granddaughter, Emily Eckman.

Mr. Eckman’s only request was to do something nice for others in his name and memory, along with prayers for him and his family.