Cover photo for Leo Michael Eckel's Obituary
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1928 Leo 2023

Leo Michael Eckel

January 10, 1928 — October 8, 2023


On Sunday, October 8, 2023, we lost a husband, father, and friend.  Leo Michael Eckel died peacefully at home, surrounded by family, aged 95.  He was a huge presence in our lives and the pain of his loss is both penetrating and profound.  Our hearts, today broken, are only healed with the knowledge that he is now at rest with the wife he deeply loved for 66 years, Rita Eckel.  For those he leaves behind, there was no better example of loyalty, or trust, or love.  Our gratitude for his life in service to family and faith is a well without bottom.

Born on January 10, 1928 in Spokane, Washington to Michael and Katherine (McGary) Eckel, he was forever touched by the death of his own father when he was a young child.  Striking out on his own, he became a butcher and grocer, a career which provided him sustenance and pride for the rest of his life.  On a blind date, he met Rita Louise Soran, and quickly the two made the best decision of their long lives: to marry and dedicate all their energies to each other, in a team built on trust, respect, and shared passion for family and faith.  He was the unmovable object; she the unstoppable force.  They loved each other with a dedication and devotion worthy of awe and imitation.

For his wife and family of seven children, no one did more to secure our common welfare than Leo.  A tireless worker, a loyal and loving father, and a model of controlled behavior, he suffered through the same grief as every parent in a large family:  financial struggles, personal deprivation, and frustrating attempts to make order out of chaos.  But through it all, he led with humor.  He was, for us, the funniest person that ever lived.  Whether a trick or a joke, he was known by all for his wit and wisdom, most appreciated by those who knew him best.

Leo made us all better, in every way.  And that is why we mourn him so deeply today.  He was the perfect model of courage, reliability, and fidelity.  Quietly but consistently, we witnessed his unshakeable belief in prayer.  Always and unwavering, he was steadfast in his love for his family.  He sacrificed his own desires so that we might achieve ours.  Despite the challenges in every life, he never gave up and he never gave in.  He showed us how to live a full life, unburdened by distraction and focused on the future.  Though we will miss him every day for the rest of our lives, we will be guided by his example and our own lives will be richer for it.

He leaves behind six children, crushed by loss, including Ginger (Pace), Cindy (Perry), Andy, Bernie, Robbie (Holmberg), and Larry.  His wife and first son, Michael, preceded him in death.   He also leaves behind many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mass of Christian Burial will begin 10:00 am Saturday, November 11, at St. Aloysius Church, in Spokane, Washington, in the same location of his baptism in 1928.  On Friday evening, November 10, the family will gather at Hennessey Funeral Home for visitation from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, with Rosary at 6:00 pm.  Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Spokane, Washington, next to his wife and son.

Memorial contributions may be made to Madonna Towers, 4001 19th Ave NW, Rochester, MN 55901.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leo Michael Eckel, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, November 10, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Recitation of the Rosary

Friday, November 10, 2023

Starts at 6:00 pm (Central time)

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Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

St. Aloysius Catholic Church

330 East Boone Avenue, Spokane, WA 99202

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