Leonard Fred Ecker

Leonard Fred Ecker, 92, died at TenderNest Assisted Living in Billings, Montana on Feb. 8, 2017, of Alzheimer’s disease.

Born Oct. 27, 1924, in Flint, Michigan, he was the youngest son of George John Ecker and Julia E. Sage. He grew up in Flint and graduated from Central High School where he ran cross country, lettered in baseball, and sang in the choir. On March 9, 1943, he was inducted into the US Army. He was sent to North Africa as an eighteen-year-old and served in the 345th Engineer Regiment. His regiment was in the first convoy to enter Naples Harbor, and he spent the remainder of World War II in Italy.

He married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy “Dottie” Smith, on March 23, 1946. In 1950 they moved to the small town of Flushing, Michigan where they raised five daughters. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and the Masonic Lodge.

During the early 1950’s he worked with his brothers as an AFL journeyman plumber on new school construction in the Flint area. He retired as a UAW Local 326 journeyman pipefitter at General Motors in 1983. As a pipefitter, he worked in decimals and fractions without a calculator. His hobbies were hunting, fishing, bowling, and playing baseball, hockey, golf, and bridge. He sang tenor in the church choir, with the Male Choruses of America, and in a barber shop quartet. He read every Louis L’Amour book. In retirement, he and Dottie traveled the country in their Airstream trailer, visiting all fifty states, Mexico, and Europe. In 1998 they settled in Red Lodge where he enjoyed hunting and fishing in the Beartooth Mountains. He belonged to the Red Lodge Community Church.

He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 70 years, Dottie, his infant son Peter Leonard, parents, brothers Edwin, Robert, and George Ecker, sisters Emma Cross and Noreen Schultz, and great-grandson Joshua Tyree.

He is survived by his daughters, Lee (William) Cooper of Red Lodge, Montana; Joyce (Donald) Herod of Blackhawk, Colorado; Sally (Lanny) Hilderman of Red Lodge, Montana; Ruth (Marcus) Lohela of San Jose, California; and Georgia (Jeffrey) Carder of Reno, Nevada; nine grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and his sister, Marion Brown of Flint, Michigan.

The family extends gratitude to the loving caregivers of TenderNest House 2 in Billings, who always went the extra mile with him.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 11 a.m. at the Red Lodge Community Church. Smith-Olcott Funeral Chapel of Red Lodge has assisted with the arrangements. Memorials may be made in Leonard’s name to the Red Lodge Community Church Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 786, Red Lodge MT 59068.