Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tremendous loss for all: Death of Mr. Marsahll Ecker

Comments:  Mr. Ecker was a great man, please pray for his family and our county!

Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 5:37 pm | Updated: 9:22 pm, Thu Sep 26, 2013. BY JOHN R.

Regional officials expressed shock and sadness at the unexpected death of Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Chairman Marshall Ecker, who died Thursday at his home.
 “It just breaks your heart,” Board Vice Chairman and Chatham-Blairs Supervisor Brenda Bowman said Thursday evening. “I admired him and enjoyed working with him.”
 Ecker died at around 3 p.m. at his home at Deer View Road in Gretna

“Our condolences go out to Mrs. Ecker and her family,” the release stated.

Ecker, a Maryland native who represented the Staunton River Magisterial District in northern Pittsylvania County, was first elected to the board of supervisors in 2007 and re-elected in 2011. He was selected as board chairman for 2013 by fellow supervisors in a 4-3 vote in January.

Callands-Gretna Supervisor Jerry Hagerman expressed disbelief at Ecker’s passing.
“It was just stunning,” Hagerman said. “He’s going to be missed. He was a good person. My heart goes out to Ann [Ecker’s wife] and all his family.”

Supervisors and other officials in the Dan River Region recalled Ecker as a respected colleague, a dedicated public servant and a man with fresh ideas.

“Mr. Ecker was a good friend,” said Banister Supervisor Jessie Barksdale. “He worked very hard for the citizens of Pittsylvania County.”

Ecker’s counterpart, Danville Mayor Sherman Saunders, referred to him as “a gentleman,” and recalled the conversations he had with Ecker. He was easy to talk to and “a friend to any and everyone,” Saunders added.

In addition, Ecker looked out for the county’s citizens, Saunders said.
“Marshall clearly had all of Pittsylvania County at heart, and this region,” he said.

Saunders also recalled Ecker showing his support for the mayor and Danville by traveling from his northern Pittsylvania County home — early in the morning on July 31 — to the city to attend Saunders’ State of the City address at 7:30 a.m. at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
“It was a blessing to meet him and it was a pleasure to work with him,” Saunders said.
Ecker opposed uranium mining and milling in Pittsylvania County

He also fought — along with his fellow supervisors — in favor of the board’s past practice of sectarian public prayer before its meetings.

Snead, when contacted by the Register & Bee Thursday, said Ecker’s death hit him hard and “it’s still unbelievable” that he is gone.

“Marshall has given a lot to the county,” Snead said, adding that he will be praying for Ann. “It’s a sad thing.”

Laurie Moran, president of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, said she met Ecker in 2008, just after he took office. Moran visited Ecker’s home where they discussed how to advance the county and the region.

“He was looking for different ways to approach situations and different ways to do business,” Moran said.

Ecker’s ideas were not typical of elected officials because he tried to look at issues from a different perspective, Moran said.

“Mr. Ecker’s death is a tremendous loss for Pittsylvania County and our region,” Moran said in a statement. “Mr. Ecker served this county because of his love for the people and his desire to make our community a great place for us and for future generations. He always strived to do what he thought was right. Whether you agreed with Mr. Ecker or not, you knew that his deci-sions were based on what he believed to be in the best interest of this county. I had tremendous respect for him and valued his insights and friendship.”

Ecker and his wife Ann moved to Gretna from Maryland in 2000. He is also survived by his son, Jason, who lives in Tarboro, N.C., and two grandchildren.

Colbert-Moran Funeral Service of Gretna is handling funeral arrangements.