Carol Anne Eckman, 85, of Vashon Island, died Monday, February 6, 2023, at home surrounded by her loving family. She was born July 17, 1937 in Connellsville, PA to parents George and Katherine Enos. An only child, she grew up surrounded by her beloved cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends, with whom she remained close throughout her life. Carol attended Allegheny College, where she earned a degree in teaching and met her husband of 64 years, Clifford Eckman. As Clifford was in the Navy, they moved often while they grew their family. Cliff ’s career in dentistry brought them to the West Coast where they eventually settled in Bellevue, WA.
The mother of five children—Cathy (who died of illness in 1962), Chris, Grant, Curt, and Cynnie—family was the most important thing to Carol. She raised her children in an environment of love, learning, humor, adventure, silliness, fun, and generosity. If you were in trouble, you would know it, because she would use your full first and middle name. She loved her children’s friends and welcomed them into the family home, becoming a second mom to many,who fondly called her “Mrs. E.” or “Mom E.” She provided a safe place for countless people, with her million-dollar smile, warmth, kindness, wisdom, pragmatism, sharp wit, endless love, and natural ability to listen.
An early commitment to volunteerism was exemplified by her service as a Grief Minister for Holy Family Parish in Kirkland, Auxiliary Member for Overlake Hospital, Board Member for The Overlake Hospital Foundation Board, and many more positions she held over the years. Carol made friends—close friends—in all aspects of her life, including her cherished Book Club of 30 years and her and Cliff ’s Gourmet Dinner Club.
In 1996, Carol and Cliff decided to spend their retirement years living full time on Vashon Island by the Salish Sea, with a majestic view of the Olympic Mountains. Carol dove right into her new community and became involved with the St. John Vianney Parish, Interfaith Council for Homelessness, the Vashon Opera, Vashon Garden Club, making countless friends and connections in the process. Her grandchildren grew up riding ferries, playing on the beach, shopping for presents at the Vashon Pharmacy, getting spa treatments from Granny, and listening to her famous, fantastical ad-lib stories. Carol and Cliff traveled extensively around the world, often on small-ship cruises. Gourmet cooking, family holidays, and dinner parties with Carol buzzing about in her apron; this was her happy place.
Carol was a gardener, avid reader, tennis player, volunteer, philanthropist, devout Catholic, accountant, teacher, crossword puzzler, card player, cocktail maker, experienced world traveler, family gatherer, matriarch, devoted wife, the best Granny/Great Granny, best mother-in-law, the most thoughtful gift giver, dog lover, and a fantastic neighbor. She could snort-laugh with the best of them, and some of her children even inherited this trait. She loved her family, she loved life, she loved to have fun, she loved her faith, she loved giving back—she loved completely.
Carol is survived by her husband Clifford Eckman, and her four children: Chris Eckman, Grant (Wynne) Eckman, Curt Eckman, and Cynnie (Erik) Foss, as well as four grandchildren: Dakota (Varvara) Eckman, Anna Foss, George Eckman, Elsa Foss, and her great-grandchild Theo Eckman.
There will be a service for Carol on Saturday, February 18th at 11:00 am at St. John Vianney Parish on Vashon Island, with a reception immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Carol’s name to one of the organizations that she loved, the Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness and the Vashon Center for the Arts.