Robert D. Eckelbarger

April 23, 1938 ~ January 7, 2019 (age 80)


Robert D. “Bob Eck” Eckelbarger, 80, of Emlenton, a retired Emlenton businessman, went to be with the Lord late Monday evening, January 7, 2019 in the comfort of his home surrounded by his loving family.

Robert was born in Olean, NY on April 23, 1938.  He was the son of the late Eugene L. and Louisa Holcomb Eckelbarger Bailey.

Bob was a 1956 graduate of Emlenton High School.  He was a well known Emlenton businessman and  had owned and operated the Buick Pontiac Dealership at Bishop Motors for eight years.  Bob and his wife, Beverly, were also the owner/operators of the Emlenton Water Co. for forty years.  He was a life member of the Waterworks Operator’s Association of Pennsylvania and a life member of the American Waterworks Association.  As a young boy, Bob had a love for heavy equipment, excavating, and dirt work and fulfilled his lifelong dream of working in that business full time when he founded Eck’s Dirt Work in Emlenton in 1985.  “Bob Eck” had an excellent reputation as a skillful heavy equipment operator; his knowledge and expertise were highly respected by his many customers.

Bob was a classic and muscle car enthusiast and enjoyed the races at Lernerville and various dirt tracks.  He looked forward to attending the annual cousins reunion, which was held by different cousins in various states across the country. 

Bob was a long time member of the Emlenton United Methodist Church and served the church as trustee for many years and was very instrumental in planning and building the new church in 1993.  Bob also attended the Salem Reformed United Church of Christ in Lamartine.  In his earlier years he was a member of the Oddfellows Lodge in Emlenton and had been a long time member of the board of directors of the Emlenton Cemetery Co.

He is survived by his wife, Beverly F. Ritchey Eckelbarger; two daughters, Debora F. King and her husband, Ted, of Kansas City, Kansas and Carla M. Hays and her husband, Fred, of Emlenton; a son, Barry E. Eckelbarger of Emlenton; three grandchildren, Ben McDowell of Kansas City, Kansas, Emily Kloter and her husband, Steve, of Castle Rock, CO, and Sarah Yates and her husband, Matt, of Centerville, VA; three great grandchildren, Atleigh Kloter and Jacob and Abigail Yates; two brothers, General Donald Eckelbarger U.S.A. Ret. and his wife, Ann, of Marble Falls, TX and Earl Eckelbarger and his wife, Karen, of Westerville, OH; a sister, Anne Carr and her husband, Dick, of Mesa, AZ, a sister-in-law, Joyce Beels Eckelbarger of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, as well as a number of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by a brother, Nelson Eckelbarger and his step father, Clarence “Slim” Bailey, as well as his father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Friends will be received at the Hile Funeral Home Inc., 1204 Kerr Ave., Emlenton, from 1 – 3 and 6 – 8 p.m. Friday and on Saturday from 10 – 11:00 a.m. at the Emlenton United Methodist Church.  A funeral service will follow at 11:00 a.m. from the church with the Rev. Paula Grucza, church pastor, and the Rev. Chris Lewis, pastor of the Salem Reformed United Church of Christ in Lamartine, co-officiating.  Private interment will be in the Emlenton Cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Emlenton United Methodist Church, PO Box 721, Emlenton, PA 16373.  For additional information or to send a condolence, please visit

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