Philip D. Eckert Sr. (AKA Papa) was born in 1951 at Valley Hospital in Livermore California to Carol and Dixie Eckert. Phil was married to Deborah Eckert, together they had 3 children. Philip is survived by his brother Max Eckert, his son Shane Eckert, son Philip Douglas Eckert Jr. (Doug), and daughter Sharla Eckert. This “about” page is the content of a post written by his oldest son Shane Eckert. The end of the page also includes the content of an about page that Phil wrote in 2004 when he blogged for a few short months.
My dad loved to share memories and tell stories. Some of my first memories as a kid were my dad telling me about his childhood, about his dad and about our town, Livermore, that he was so proud of. I loved that he and I were born in the same hospital, it made me feel connected and secure. My roots were established through my father’s story telling. I chose a technology career because of my dad, and the day I started working at LLNL was one if the best days of my life. My dad’s entire career was spent at LLNL where he was employed for over 45 years. For a few of those years I was able to work in the same building as he did, just a floor below his.
Dad was a genius. It’s hard to describe how smart he was, it made him a bit quirky as you might imagine. As a programmer at LLNL, a Government Laboratory here in Livermore, he wrote code that kept the world’s fastest computers going. He is named on several patents for code that allows many, many users to run on shared clusters and account for their time. He loved math and solving complex problems.
As I mentioned he worked at LLNL all his life. He met my mom there, and his father worked at LLNL as a machinist long before he did. My grandfather was also a watch maker, something that he was know for in Livermore, which I could tell made my dad proud. LLNL also employed my mom’s mother, some aunts and uncles, etc. It’s strange for me to think that LLNL no longer has an Eckert working there.
I think what most people would remember about my dad, aside from being very smart, was his humor. Dad’s humor was alway at the forefront. He made the worst jokes but also the best jokes, and he always thought he was so, so funny. Heh, don’t we all? He was a huge fan of The Far Side comics and is the person that pointed me to my all time favorite comic, Calvin and Hobbes.
Dad was also a huge reader. He probably digested an entire library in the course of his life. He was always reading. I mean, ALWAYS reading. I think it started in childhood when he had to have multiple knee surgeries and was confined to a bed for a very long time. I have such fond memories of when he would take me to the Livermore Public Library. I spent hours and hours in that place. Every Saturday morning he would go through the bins of used books looking for books that he read as a kid or just wanted to read again. His love of science fiction was contagious and to this day I appreciate the genre. He loved reading to me and my siblings, books like Make Way for Ducklings, Happy Birthday Oliver, Blueberries for Sal, One Morning in Maine, Homer Price, etc. Dad’s collection of books is massive, shelves and shelves of theology, science fiction and general reading. He also has a massive collection of comic books. He used to go to Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy (a shop in downtown Livermore) every weekend as a kid and purchase comic books, and he did this for years and years. He kept them all!
Dad also loved to go on drives. He would drive around Livermore for hours showing us places he loved. He had stories for everything. The May Nissen Pool, the pool at LLNL, Livermore High, Dairy Queen, Almond Ave. Park, and more. Sometimes, when I was young, he would put the child seat on his bike and ride me around Livermore telling me about what he did as a kid on this street and that street, or who used to live there and what became of them.
While my mom is the one who taught me to love others and to follow Jesus, my dad is the one who taught me to know what I believe and to be able to defend it. He got me deep into theology and I really enjoyed hypothetical questions with him, as well as exploring the deeper theology that in the end has little practical application, but is fun to think about. My mom and dad had a hand in forming a church with several other families back when I as very young. It was called New Covenant Church then, but now it’s called Celebration Christian Center. I have so many great memories of that place, it was also a private school for a few years too. I could write several posts on that time in our lives, it was so good.
Our times spent as a family often involved countless hours at the beach, specifically Half Moon Bay. My dad loved the beach, he and mom would sit on a blanket and watch us play all day. At the end of the day we would swing by Thrifty’s for an ice cream cone and head home, or we would grab dinner at Joe’s By The Coast and then head home. We also spent countless nights in the nose bleed seats at the coliseum watching our favorite team, The Oakland A’s, while bunched together with hot coco we brought from home and blankets. I don’t know why, but my parents switched sides and some point and became huge SF Giants fans and started going to those games. Thankfully this was after I moved out. Family times with my dad also included lots of long walks/bike rides at Sycamore Grove (or Veteran’s Park), finding old book stores in the surrounding cities, like Fremont, Berkeley, and sometimes venturing South towards LA. I loved those old book shops, they smelled like what I think the 1800’s smelled like, and the books were fun to crack open and feel. Old paper has a cool feel to it. I know that’s weird, but it’s a thing, trust me.
My dad had quite a few interests and passions. He was a musician with a huge love for guitars. He and I took Classical Guitar classes together at Las Positas College for several semesters, but he was in bands long before I came along. His guitar collection is rather extensive. He loved anything Disney, but the old school stuff, not so much the most recent Disney endeavors. Think Donald Duck, Scrooge, the OG stuff, like when you said “Walt Disney” instead of just “Disney”. It’s not widely know, but my dad also dabbled in magic. … tricks, which for a summer was something he got me interested in. He lent me his Abbots Magic Catalog and for awhile I tried to get decent with card tricks, even performed a really bad magic show for my family. Thankfully that phase in my life passed quickly. My mom and dad were huge supporters of us kids being in 4-H and Scouts. My dad took me camping occasionally, but was always up to take me to scouting events. My mom was my cub scout troop’s assistant Den Leader, those were such good times with such good people. Dad was also a very good artist, we have several pen and inks and water color pieces around the house. Dad loved Rottweilers and owned several, loved Orange Tabby’s, Dr. Pepper and was know for wearing Birkenstocks and Flannel shirts. Oh yes, and wine. My dad and his brother were knowledgable when it came to the process of making wine, drinking it and appreciating it. I think that came from living here in Livermore and being close to Wente, Retzlaf, and Concannon Vinyards.
My dad’s final time was spent missing my mom and longing to be with her, but also enjoying my kids. My kids come to the Bay Area often to hang out with my family, something he really appreciated. He told me about a year ago that one of his favorite things are when me and the kids come and stay here a few days and we are all together, under the same roof. He said he sleeps a little better when that is the case.
Dad worked right up until the day he passed away, he loved his work and that was apparent to everyone that knew him. What you are doing your final days, possibly even hours, is not always telling of reality, especially in these strange times. But for my dad it was an exact indicator. His Grandkids, my siblings, his work, all present in the final days and hours. Dad is going to be missed, but we are so very thankful he went peacefully and is finally home.
In Phil’s own words from 2004.
It is hard to talk about one’s self, it is too easy to become boastful, or boring. I will attempt to give enough background without being either.
I am a lifelong native of Livermore California, a moderate sized city about fifty miles southeast of San Francisco. I am a computer programmer at the Livermore Lawrence National Laboratory where I have worked for 30 years. I am married with three children, and I currently have two granddaughters. I have been a Christian since 1977, and I have attended a whole range of church denominations, from very liberal charismatic, to very orthodox reformed Baptist. My wife and I, and our oldest son and his family, are currently attending a local community church which has a strong outward focus.
I have a broad range of interests, I like music (listening and playing), art (appreciation of and I occasionally attempt watercolor painting), reading (broad range from science fiction to children’s picture books to heavy theology), photography (I enjoy my digital camera), and a number of pets: a dog, several cats, a cockatiel and a rat) . My favorite place in the world to visit, is the beach. I like to see the ocean anytime of the year, any kind of weather. Our family has always been especially fond of Half-Moon bay.
I have a varied list of favorite theologians, from the past it would be Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon and J.C. Ryles, with a penchant for the terse, yet pithy quotes, taken from Robert Murray M’Cheyne. There are a number of modern theologians whom I am also greatly inspired by: F.F. Bruce, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Michael Horton, and the one whom I have read the most by, Dr. D.A. Carson.
I think this gives an adequate background, from which I think you will see the influences in what I write and how I approach biblical topics and exposition. As time goes on, I will adjust it as needed, or as requested. #