Lowell Eckberg, 84

Past president, Community of Congregations

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Lowell W. Eckberg, 84, a longtime resident of Oak Park and most recently of Forest Park, died on Jan. 30, 2019 after a long illness. Born on Aug. 3, 1934, in Tracy, Minnesota, he grew up in Duluth, graduated from the University of Minnesota at Duluth and taught school for a year in Michigan. He was a member of the U.S. Naval Reserves and served from 1957-59 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. After teaching for a year in Elgin he decided to go into the Methodist ministry and received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary in June 1963. During his years as a pastor, he served Methodist churches in Dixon, Sycamore, and Chicago. 

In 1970 he left the active ministry and accepted voluntary location from the Methodist Northern Illinois Conference at First United Methodist Church of Oak Park, where he helped lead services, worked in children's education, and performed other volunteer duties until a few years before his death. A social worker with the Illinois Department of Public Aid from 1970 to 1996, he was active in the Belmont Cragin and Oak Park Kiwanis Clubs for many years. He was a church representative, board member and president of the Community of Congregations, and a blood donor for many years. He loved doing crafts, including chair caning, creating rich desserts, gardening, and traveling throughout the U.S., Europe and the Far East. 

During retirement, he was a member of the Oak Park-River Forest Senior Center weaving group and volunteered at the Economy Shop where he was in charge of the Housewares Room for a time. A docent at the Ernest Hemingway Birth House, he also volunteered at the Oak Park Visitors Center and was honored by Age Options as part of the Celebrating Seniors Coalition 60 over 60 Class of 2015 for outstanding efforts in the community. 

Lowell Eckberg is survived by Judy (nee Kessler), his wife of 44 years; his sister, Leotia Rosen (Everett); and his many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents and his siblings, Dean Eckberg and Bonnie Durand. 

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, April 13 at First United Methodist Church, 324 N. Oak Park Ave. in Oak Park. There will be a short visitation at 10 a.m., followed by the service at 11 and a luncheon afterward in the Fellowship Hall. 

Memorials may be sent to First United Methodist Church for religious education scholarships. 

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