Bob Eckert died April 28, 2020 at the age of 95 after a short battle with the coronavirus. He was born June 7, 1924 in Baltimore, MD to the late Robert Herman Eckert and the late Catherine Frances Eckert (Kelbert). He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy (Roberts), and is survived by his daughter Susan Miller, grandchildren Sean Miller, Catherine Miller, a sister Elaine Eckart, nieces Nora Miller, Bonnie Siegle, Gayle Summers and their families, half-brother Ed Eckert, and many close friends.
Bob was a lifelong resident of Baltimore and graduated from City College in 1942. Shortly after high school graduation, he enlisted in the Navy during World War II, and traveled the world as a signalman on merchant ships from 1942 - 1944. He was very proud to be a member of the Navy and considered serving his country to be one of the highest honors in his life. He was a 1949 graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in history and attended his 70th reunion in 2019.
He was a gifted pianist that started to play at the age of 5. He was in numerous Maryland state orchestras and graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. He taught fifth grade for several years after college, but left that profession to pursue his love of music full-time.
Bob was a member and accompanist for The Alamedian Light Opera Company for over 50 years, appearing in numerous theatrical productions around the Baltimore area. He was in several orchestras and bands during the 1950s and 1960s. In addition, he was a cocktail pianist for much of his life, entertaining diners at The Eager House and Gaslamp in Baltimore, Phillips at the Inner Harbor, The Embers in Ocean City, and many other establishments in Baltimore and Ocean City.
In his later years, he worked at the Veterans Administration before retirement, and volunteered to read books at local elementary schools. He loved Baltimore, including the Colts and Ravens, but especially the Orioles, and enjoyed attending World Series games in 1970 and 1971. He was a gregarious man who enjoyed musical and theatrical productions with friends, and dining out on crab imperial. He never met a sweet he didn’t like. As he aged, he still had a very sharp mind and enjoyed playing bingo and cards, even though his hearing and sight were impaired. He was a generous man, ready to give whatever he could to any organization that needed a few dollars, as well as “accidentally dropping” treats to the dog under the table.
He entertained his fellow residents at Morningside House of Friendship and then FutureCare Chesapeake with his piano playing. He laughed when told he was the world’s best piano player - he composed his own arrangements, with favorites including military and Broadway songs, and still could put on a show with the best of them.
He will be interred at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Baltimore on May 1, 2020.
If anyone desires to honor Bob, please play or sing a song in his honor. He was a pianist, and music was his first love. And he would appreciate any donations to a food bank to help those who find themselves unemployed at this difficult time.
We know he is tickling the ivories and causing a ruckus up in heaven.
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