|Mon, Sep 01, 2014 05:12 PM
July 02, 2014 | 10:09 AM
A farmboy who grew up to start his own business, Eckart Supply Co., that has expanded to include other locations died Saturday morning. Everett R. Eckart of Corydon was 94.
In a biography he wrote 14 years ago for his family, Eckart, who was born on his parents' farm near Corydon on Feb. 4, 1920, wrote about starting school when he was 5 "because I would follow my brother" as he walked to school.
Everett R. Eckart
"I walked over the hill and through the woods and in the snow for one mile to a one-room schoolhouse, for the full eight years," Eckart wrote.
He recalled learning a lot from his father and brother when they installed a well pump and water tower on the farm following a drought and the Kansas dust bowl in the 1930s.
"But mostly we walked to go swimming or fishing," he wrote.
Basketball and ping-pong were favorite pastimes. Roller skating was another activity for Eckart, who sometimes would borrow the family car on Friday nights.
It was during a blind date set up by his friend, Carlton Miles, that he met his future wife, the former Madalyn Pitman. They were married for 67 years before she passed away on May 30, 2009.
During that time, they raised chickens and turkeys; at one time, they had nearly 4,000 chickens.
Eckart continued to hone his skills, building kitchen cabinets and putting in a sink and pitcher pump for the couple's home. He ventured into electrical work while they lived briefly in Colorado. After returning to Indiana, Eckart began working in a cousin's appliance business, selling Hotpoint appliances as well as plumbing and electrical supplies.
"We bought out the plumbing and electrical supplies and started the Eckart Wiring and Plumbing business in a small room in the back of the appliance store," Eckart said. "Madalyn would help with the retail sales, and I would go out and install the material."
In 1955, the business was expanded to include heating and air conditioning, as well as General Electric appliances.
As business began to drop off in the 1960s, Eckart sold all of the remaining appliances and began selling contractor supplies.
"Our net worth grew fast; profits were good," Eckart wrote. "So, we bought ground and built a building in Jasper."
Eckart took early retirement in 1982.
In a post-script, Eckart wrote, "We have seen many changes in our lifetime, from the horse and buggy, outhouses and steam locomotives to cell phones, televisions and trips to the moon, sky lab, email and the Internet."
Using technology was one of the last activities Eckart had with family members before he died. From his hospital bed, he was using his iPad to find "friends" on Facebook."
A family member said Eckart seemed to be resting well Friday night as family members left the hospital.
"He told me before I left that he was ready to go and that he was just tired," she said. "He was very relaxed and calm and seemed to know it was his time."
It was some time after midnight that the family was called to the hospital.
Eckart was a 32nd-degree Mason and a longtime member of Corydon Presbyterian Church who had recently returned to Corydon United Methodist Church. He helped with the construction of the current Presbyterian church and had been an active volunteer at Camp PYOCA near Brownstown, a camp frequented by Presbyterian youth, including Eckart's grandchildren.
There will be a memorial service Monday at 4 p.m. at Gehlbach & Royse Funeral Home in Corydon. Visitation will begin three hours before the service.