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Mark Neal Eckard

November 2, 2018
Mark Neal Eckard
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Obituary for Mark Neal Eckard

Mark Neal Eckard, 64, of West Lafayette, died Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, after losing his short battle with cancer. His wife, Connie, was with him at the end.

Neal was many things: a successful businessman, avid golfer, huge West Virginia University football fan, eager boatsman, master griller and generous philanthropist.

But more than that, he was a loving and devoted husband. He met Connie, whom he called Bride, four decades ago in Chattanooga, Tenn. For 38 years as husband and wife, through the typical wedded trials and tribulations, the two raised a child, built a business and forged a loving relationship that will last long after both of them are gone.

In a final letter to his Bride, Neal said, “While I write this letter, I am still in shock my days are coming to the end with the most beautiful woman I have ever known. My only regret is for me to not verbally tell you I love you every day. I hope the letter is enough for you to know and fulfill my wish of saying to you, "I LOVE YOU, BABY.”

The two had many good times together: Escaping life’s woes on a houseboat at Lake Powell in Utah; cruising on their boat, “Don’t Blink,” on Lake Michigan; and sitting on their back yard deck, watching the grass grow.

Golf was a big part of Neal’s life. Whether it was watching PGA Tour events on television or volunteering at various tournaments, Neal’s love for the game was strong. He played regularly, enjoying the camaraderie of fellow golfers and friends, especially Terry Littleton, at local courses like Coyote Crossing and Edwood Glen.

Neal spent a big chunk of his life, working in the hospitality industry, earning a Hotel Management certification in 1984. He spent more than 30 years, managing various hotels and motels in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia and Indiana. In 2005, he transitioned to commercial property management, and three years later, started Nationwide Asset Management Group, a nationally recognized company.

Neal’s integrity led to a long and successful business career. He was well-respected and admired by colleagues, business partners and employees. From a tiny office in West Lafayette, Ind., he built a thriving company that included assets from North Carolina to California and Minnesota to Texas.

Neal was born in 1954 in Clarksburg, W.Va., second son of the late Frank and Patsy Eckard. He attended West Virginia University, which led to his lifelong passion for the Mountaineers.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Patsy Eckard; and son, Keith Jones. Neal is survived by his wife, Connie Deerman-Eckard; brothers, Gary Eckard and J. Eric Eckard; and a host of cousins and other family members.

After his cancer diagnosis in March, Neal was able to live and love a lifetime with family and friends in those few short months. And in his letter to Connie, he clearly appreciated those moments.

“This time we have had cannot be measured. To me it appears I had my one wish in life, and that was the last few months I have been able to spend with you.”

Neal decided he didn’t want a service. But he did want a celebration of his life down the road once his loved ones are able to put two thoughts together without crying - possibly this spring.

In the meantime, remember Neal, the best husband, the best brother, the best boss, the best friend, the best.


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