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Richard Eckert, National Fuel foreman, WWII veteran

Aug. 8, 1922 – March 13, 2015

Richard Eckert, a World War II veteran and retired district foreman for National Fuel Gas Co., died March 13 in Mercy Hospital. He was 92.

Born in Buffalo, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933 and was assigned to camp in New York State. His duties included planting trees and maintaining roads. He also worked as a cook and orderly for the officers quarters.

Mr. Eckert, of West Seneca, worked at the Colonial Bakery and Liberty Milk Co. in the late 1930s, before signing up for the Navy, in which he served from 1942-46. During World War II, he served as torpedoman’s mate first class on the USS Ramsden, destroyer escort ship No. 382, the USS Hubbard, USS Holland and USS Sperry. His medals included the Victory, American Campaign, Asiatic Pacific, European and Good Conduct.

When he returned home, Mr. Eckert began a 38-year career from 1946 to 1984 at National Fuel, starting as a meter reader and safety instructor, and advancing to district foreman in New York and Pennsylvania.

He was a member of Pvt. Leonard Post Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6251, where he served as commander; and Pup Tent 54 of the Military Order of the Cootie. He was a state officer of the VFW for 22 years, as well as an officer for the Erie County and district groups.

He was a commander of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association and volunteered with the Excalibur Association, for which he assisted disabled children with fishing excursions on Lake Erie. He also was a member of the Holy Name Society of Fourteen Holy Helpers Parish.

His wife of 67 years, Jeanette, died in 2014.

Survivors include two daughters, Lucille Rydzynski and Mary Buss; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Fourteen Holy Helpers Catholic Church, Indian Church Road at Union Road, West Seneca.

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