Funeral services for John William (Bill) Eckerdt were held Monday, Sept. 15, at 11 a.m. at the Atwood Funeral Home in Greybull. Pastor Kent Dempsey officiated. Mr. Eckerdt, 88, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, at the Worland Health Care and Rehabilitation Center.
Mr. Eckerdt was born June 7, 1926, in Powell, Wyo., the son of John and Elizabeth Eckerdt. He graduated from Manderson High School in 1944 and joined the United States Army on Feb. 21, 1945. He attended basic training at Camp Hood, Texas, following with service at Fort Lewis, Wash. He served in the Counter Intelligence Corps at Richland, Wash., and was discharged as a sergeant Oct. 13, 1946.
He married Ethel Josephine Johnston in Manderson on Sept. 5, 1948.
After his military service, Mr. Eckerdt went on to attend the University of Wyoming and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy in 1950. After graduation he worked for the Bureau of Reclamation in Huron, S.D., until June 1952. He then accepted a position with the Soil Conservation Service in Hot Springs, S.D., until August 1956, when he accepted a position as a County Extension Agent with the University of Wyoming. Mr. Eckerdt served as the Big Horn County Extension Agent for 29 years, retiring in 1985.
Mr. Eckerdt was well known throughout the Big Horn Basin for his contributions to farmers and ranchers and his leadership in the 4-H program. He was a member of the Basin Volunteer Fire Department and Lions Club for over 30 years. He served terms as president of the Basin Lions Club and was also a Deputy District Governor. Mr. Eckerdt also served on the Farm Bureau, was a member of the American Legion and served as chairman of the Ag committee with the Basin Chamber of Commerce.
His hobbies included gardening, woodworking, fishing, hunting, tennis, and golf in his later years.
Bill and Ethel filled their lives with many activities including camping, fishing, boating, sports, 4-H, school sports and other extracurricular activities.
Following Ethel’s passing in 1989, Bill met and married Darlene Hansen of Greybull on June 11, 1994. They enjoyed traveling to see children, grandchildren and spending time in warmer areas during the winter.
Mr. Eckerdt is survived by five daughters, Jan Campbell (Mark) of Casper, Jill Eckerdt of Seattle, Wash., Nancy Jo Wesnitzer (John) of Sedona, Ariz., Joyce Shorthill of Fort Collins, Colo., Jean Spiegelberg (Anthony) of Sheridan; one son, Brad Eckerdt of Cedarburg, Wis.; two sisters, Marion Black of Worland and Jeannie Wright of Dallas; 11 grandchildren: Daniel Agin, Jeff and Julie Baroody, Austin and Lucas Wesnitzer, Caroline Martin, Madison and Samantha Shorthill, Taylor and Emily Spiegelberg, Lauren, Jack and Henry Eckerdt, and three great-grandchildren, Phineaus Baroody and Milo and Calder Belanger.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, Bob, one sister, Irene, his wives, Ethel and Darlene, and a daughter, Joan, who died in 1957.
Burial was in Mount View Cemetery with Atwood Family in charge of arrangements.