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John J. Eckley, 81, of Big Spring, Texas, died Nov. 20, 2012, at his home.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Mandan, N.D., with the Rev. Shane Campbell as celebrant. Burial will be at the North Dakota Veteranâ€™s Cemetery south of Mandan, with military honors provided by the VFW Post No. 707 and American Legion Post No. 40.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, from 3-8 p.m. at Weigel Funeral Home, with a Catholic Daughterâ€™s Rosary at 4 p.m. and Parish Vigil at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue at the church one hour prior to the service on Wednesday.
John was born Oct. 21, 1931, to Harvey and Dorothy (Johnson) Eckley in Ruthven, Iowa. He was educated in the Ruthven Public School and upon graduating from high school he was employed as a bookkeeper for Ruthven Elevator. John started his military career in the U.S. Air Force in April of 1951. On Oct. 25, 1958, John married LaVerne Leingang in St. Anthony, N.D. During his time in the Air Force, he was continually furthering his education. He attended the University of Maryland, Howard College and the University of Oklahoma.
During his 20 years in the USAF, John spent time in Air Defense Command, Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command and Air Training Command as an instructor pilot in the T-38. John retired in 1971 with the rank of Major after 20 years of service to his country.
After his retirement from the Air Force, John was employed with the State of Texas in the employment field. Before Johnâ€™s lengthy illness, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and woodworking. These memories of John will be cherished. Those who knew him, saw him as a â€śGood Guy.â€ť
John will be deeply missed by his loving wife, LaVerne; son John â€śMichaelâ€ť (Marianne), Big Spring, Texas; grandchildren, Michael, Lewisville, Texas, Adrianna, Fort Worth, Texas and Katerina, Manhattan, Kan.; and sisters, Rosemary (David) Anderson, Minneapolis, Minn. and Marietta (Richard) Odell, Cottonwood, Ariz.
John was preceded in death by his parents; an infant son, Gerald; and his mother and father-in-law, Jack and Rose Leingang.
Memorials may be directed to the North Dakota Veteranâ€™s Cemetery or St. Jude Childrenâ€™s Hospital.
Go to www.weigelfuneral.com to sign the online guestbook and view flower and tribute photos.