George W. Ecklund
George W. Ecklund, 98, of Springfield, died at 6:30 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at Lewis Memorial Christian Village Assisted Living. He was born November 5, 1920 in Springfield to George P. and Rowena Martin Ecklund.
He married Shirley Baya on December 28, 1974 and she preceded him in death on September 14, 2006.
Survivors include one son, George (Cheryl) Ecklund, Jr. of Springfield; one daughter, Linda (John) Kennedy of Springfield; two grandchildren, Dan (Becky) Kennedy of Mequon, WI and Katie (Grant) Barksdale of Rochester; three great- granddaughters.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife and his first wife, Betty Bryden, whom he married in 1946 and later divorced, but remained close friends.
He was a graduate of Springfield High School and Millikin University – Decatur, IL. He was a private piano teacher for sixty-eight years, retiring in 2012 at the age of 92.
George was a member of the National and Illinois Federation of Music Clubs; Music Teacher’s National Association and was an original faculty member of Hope School where he began their music program in 1958 and where he taught piano to the blind and mentally challenged. He served on the faculty at Lincoln Land Community College.
He formerly served as the choir director at St. John’s Lutheran Church; was accompanist for ANSAR Shrine Chanters; was a published composer and composed a ballet performed by The Copper Coin Ballet Company in 1969 and Director of the musical “Babes in Toyland” in 1965. He received The Outstanding Alumni Award from Millikin University in 1972.
He enjoyed fishing in Wisconsin and playing bridge, chess and cribbage. George was an avid lifelong Cardinals fan. His son says that by now, his dad is probably giving piano lessons to Stan Musial and Jack Buck.
Visitation: 4-6 pm, Friday, April 12, 2019 at Staab Funeral Home and from 10:30 am – 11 am, Saturday, April 13, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church.
Funeral Service: 11 am, Saturday, April 13, 2019 at First Presbyterian Church, with Pastor Susan Phillips officiating. Burial will follow at Oak Ridge Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 321 S. 7th Street, Springfield, IL 62701.
Share stories, pictures, Facebook and Twitter at: