Veteran U.S. Naval Reserve World War II
WILLIAM HOWARD ECKELS, Jr., age 86 of Colfax Township, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1925 and had lived in the Big Rapids area since 1988 when he and his wife Mary moved here from the Kalamazoo area.
He was an Aviation Radioman in the U.S. Navy Reserve during World War II, serving in the Pacific theatre [Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal]. William was a graduate of Western Michigan University, 1950 and worked for 34 years in the paper industry in the Kalamazoo area. He was a member of B.R.A.A.R.C.
William was married in 1951 to the former Mary Fortin who survives. Also surviving are two sons, Thomas (Wanda) and Peter, 3 grandchildren, 1 great granddaughter, 5 great grandsons, and one sister. He was preceded in death by his parents and a grandson.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at 5:00 p.m. Thursday January, 12, 2012 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Big Rapids.