Herbert “Herbie” Henry Eckstein, 86, of Rockford passed into eternity with his Lord Jesus Christ on January 10, 2022. Mercifully, he was taken suddenly without pain or any known sickness. This kind, compassionate, generous, and silly guy will be missed by many friends and family, especially his loving wife of 65 years, Sharon.
Herbie was born October 18, 1935, in Philadelphia PA, the first-born child of Herbert Eckstein Sr. and Viola (Pleasure) Eckstein. When he was 17 years old, his family moved to Rockford. Herb graduated from Rockford West High School in 1954. He married Sharon on December 28, 1956.
For 35 years, Herbie worked at Illinois Bell / Ameritech in special services, setting up microwave feeds of special events, fearlessly climbing towers, and fixing problems in computer rooms all over the city. He met presidents and other dignitaries as he worked setting up telecommunications for their visits. He also ran his own businesses, A&E Engineering (selling and installing outdoor TV antennas) and Satellite Business Systems (selling and installing huge satellite dishes).
For most of his life, he was an avid ham radio enthusiast, known as K9AMJ, and was known for his electronics expertise. He loved designing circuits in his spare time, building and maintaining repeaters, and helping out other “hams”. He also got his pilot’s license as a young man and belonged to the Blackhawk Flying Club for many years.
Herbie loved animals of all kinds, including all the pups in his life, and wildlife. He once rescued a wounded pigeon and raised her offspring for many years. Nobody got more excited than Herbie about spotting a deer, coyotes, pheasants, or baby turkeys walking in his backyard. He also loved the ocean and had fond memories of going “down to the shore”, visiting the boardwalk, and fishing with family members. Herb was very patriotic, and wished he had served in the military, because he loved his country so much. He and Sharon loved to travel. They took their kids on several road trips when they were young. After retiring, they enjoyed camping around the USA and Canada, plus visiting other countries.
During the last 5 years, Herbie’s love and kindness shown brightly as he dedicated himself to helping Sharon through two major illnesses. He graciously attended to her needs without complaint, even while he also received treatment for cancer and recovered from a stroke. During the last two years, they have hung out together at home avoiding Covid, drawing closer to each other with each passing day.
Herbie always believed in God, but drew closer to him when he committed his life to Jesus in the 1980’s. He and Sharon enjoyed weekly visits from Pastor Steve Doyle of Calvary Christian Church during Sharon’s illnesses. When she was well enough to attend, they began attending Calvary and participated in the online services the last two years.
Herbie was greeted in heaven by his parents Herbert and Viola, and his daughter Catherine (stillborn), and many relatives and friends. He is survived by his wife, Sharon (Baker) Eckstein, his sister Mary Gassmann (Richard), his daughter Christine O’Neil (Michael), his son Warren Eckstein (Betty), grandsons Jacob Eckstein (Rebecca), Caleb O’Neil (Tatiana), and Joshua O’Neil, granddaughter Natalie Eckstein Hurley (Brett) carrying his first great grandchild who is due in May 2022, nephews Tim Carlson (Karen) and Tom Carlson (Melanie), great nephew, Drew, and great nieces Megan, Emily, Ashli, Elizabeth, Elissa, and Brianna. Herbie had special extra “kids” DeeDee Zilliox (Terry), and the Saenbandith family of Seng, Somthat, Ting, Souk, and Saylom.
The visitation will be held at Calvary Christian Church, 5455 Charles St, Rockford, IL on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at 12:30 pm with the funeral service following at 1:30 pm. Burial at Arlington Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial gifts to Rock House Kids 1325 7th Street Rockford, Illinois 61104 or www.rockhousekids.org.
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