Richard Gene Eckles was born April 12, 1930, to William and Mildred Eckles in Colorado Springs. He passed away Jan. 20, 2012, at the Life Care Center of Evergreen.
He attended school there and graduated from Palmer High School in 1948. During high school, he played hockey and began his work life at Timkin Roller Bearing.
After high school he began his career with the Colorado Department of Highways. His career with CDOH lasted 36 years. He retired in 1984. During that time, he was involved in the construction of Interstate 25 from Colorado Springs to Castle Rock and Interstate 70 in Clear Creek County. His I-70 projects included the Idaho Springs bypass, the Twin Tunnels east of Idaho Springs, I-70 from Idaho Springs to Empire Junction and both the Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels.
On Feb. 4, 1951, he married Norma Jean Goehry in Castle Rock. The couple lived there until Richard received a greeting letter from his friends and neighbors at the local selective service office in March of 1951. It was an invitation to participate in a little (most) expenses-paid tour of the Republic of Korea.
He was assigned to the U.S. Army 62nd Engineers Topo Co. and traveled the Korean countryside making maps. He was discharged in March of 1953. For his service, he was awarded a Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, and a United Nations Service Medal Meritorious Unit Citation.
Upon his return to Colorado, he resumed his career with CDOH. In 1956 he was transferred from Castle Rock to Idaho Springs for the construction of I-70. He was stationed there for the remainder of his career.
In June 1954, son Loren (“Biff”) was born and then in June 1957 daughter Linda came along.
Richard’s hobbies included fishing, hunting, camping, photography, woodworking and working with stained glass. He enjoyed spending time with family, kids, grandkids and his great-grandson, teaching them how to fish, hunt, camp and appreciate the great outdoors.
He served the community of Clear Creek County as a member of the Idaho Springs Volunteer Fire Department, as a reserve police officer for Idaho Springs Police Department and reserve deputy sheriff for the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office.
He was a life member of VFW Post 4121 and a life member of Idaho Springs Elks Lodge 607. He was a member of the Clear Creek County Sportsmans Club, the Clear Creek Fairgrounds Association and the “Oh My Gawd Rodeo” committee.
He passed away at the Life Care Center of Evergreen surrounded by family. He had been suffering from a long-term serious illness.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, his brother Robert of Gig Harbor Wash., and a sister Gertrude, who passed in infancy.
Survivors include wife Norma, son Loren (Biff), daughter Linda Clark of Broomfield, granddaughters Michaela and Katie Clark, grandson Sean, great-grandson Aidan and numerous in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to VFW Post 4121 Scholarship Program in his name.