John Henry Eckenroad, III, 78, of Boca Grande, Florida passed away surrounded by his family on July 24, 2022.
Born on August 14, 1943, John spent the first years of his life in Clarendon Hills, Illinois with his parents, Mary and John Jr. and his younger sister, Ann. John attended St. Procopius High School before the family relocated to Dubuque Iowa, and he graduated from Wahlert Catholic High School in 1961.
John went on to attend Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, where he met his future wife, Margaret (Marge) Mary Friedrich. John graduated in 1965 with a B.S. degree in political science and went on to earn a master’s degree in political science in 1967 from Northern Illinois University. John and Marge were married in Naperville, Illinois in 1967.
John embarked on a career in city management and development that would span forty years. He began as an assistant manager in LaGrange Park, Illinois where he started his family with Marge. He became city manager of Northfield in 1970, where he and Marge raised their two daughters, Meg and Kathleen, and developed life-long friends. As city manager, John oversaw the development, modernization and also preservation of the village he loved and called home for most of his life.
In 1995 John accepted a position to lead the Oak Park Development Corporation as executive director. For 10 years, John fostered economic development, job creation and assisted countless small businesses in the City of Oak Park.
John dedicated his life to making a difference and leaned into the community in which he lived to make it a better place for everyone. John served on the boards of St. Philip the Apostle Catholic School, Regina Dominican High School and Catholic Charities of Chicago. He was always first to lend a hand when anyone needed help.
In the 1980s, John and Marge discovered their future paradise here in Boca Grande. In 1995, John and Marge found a place where they could watch the sunset every night and would eventually call home.
John valued life experiences and friendships. Throughout his life, John was an avid golfer, fisherman and photographer. Fishing was a passion instilled in John by his father.
One of John’s greatest joys was to spend time with his son-in-law and three grandsons fly fishing out west, flatboat fishing the mangroves around Boca Grande and casting from the beach in Martha’s Vineyard. In Boca Grande, John became a fixture at the Boca Bay fishing pier and was active in the fishing club. John also golfed for most of his life with great friends and instilled the love of the game in his grandsons. John was also an accomplished photographer, and from the time he was a young man, he chronicled his travels across the country and around the world.
John was devoted to his family. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 55 years, Marge; his children, Meg and Kathleen (Brian) Noonan; son-in-law Brian; his three grandsons, Colin, Casey and Patrick; and his sister Ann (William) Hittman. John had many close friends in Northfield, Oak Park and Boca Grande. Visitation will begin at 9 a.m. at St. Philip the Apostle Church (Devine Mercy Parish) in Northfield, Illinois on Saturday, Aug. 13, followed by a funeral mass at 10 a.m. A memorial mass will be held at a future date at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Boca Grande.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in John’s honor to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at michaeljfox.org/donate.