Obituary of Connie LaRay Eckhardt
Connie LaRay (Stewart) Eckhardt passed away September 21, 2023 at UC Health hospital.
Connie was born June 12, 1943 in Imperial, Nebraska to Ronald and Ada (Harshman) Stewart. She grew up in Brandon, Nebraska, a tiny rural community. She attended a one room school house through the 8th grade and then attended Venango High School where she was active in volleyball, choir, band and pep club. Connie graduated from high school in 1960. She continued her education at Colorado State College, now known as the University of Northern Colorado, and received her Bachelors Degree in elementary education in 1964. She earned her Masters Degree in Technology in 2000 from Lesley College.
Connie began her long and successful teaching career as a Kindergarten teacher in Brighton, Colorado. She told so many wonderful stories about her Kindergarten students which reinforced her love for children. She took several years off from teaching when she gave birth to her two sons so she could stay home with them until they went to school. She first began substitute teaching in School District #6 until she got a permanent job teaching Math at the middle school level. She taught at Chappelow, Maplewood and Franklin until her retirement in 2003. She was affectionately called Mrs. "E" by her students. She touched so many lives of young people which is evidenced by the many, many students keeping in touch with her and to this day call her Mrs. "E".
If they gave an award for the most decorated classroom in the district, she would surely have been the winner. She was passionate about the Denver Broncos, Nebraska Huskers and the Colorado Rockies. In her classroom each of her teams had a corner dedicated to them. During the Bronco Superbowl years of 1998 and 1999 the Greeley Tribune did a feature article on her including pictures of her room and herself in her Bronco attire. She always showed her love and enthusiasm for all three of her ''teams" by dressing in the appropriate team colors and outfits on game day. Connie acquired her loyalty and love for sports and teaching at an early age as she grew up surrounded by teachers, coaches and sports. Her mother, aunts, sisters and brother were all teachers and coaches including her father who coached baseball and basketball and was involved in any community sport that needed help.
Connie met the love her life, Ben Eckhardt, in 1966 and they were married in 1967. They celebrated 50 years together in 2017 and continued to celebrate together until her death. To this union was born two boys, Mitchell and Corbin. She was a devoted mother to them from their birth. She taught them to never give up and never quit anything they started and to always do their best. Whenever they did something mischievous or got into trouble, her first question to them was what "choice" did you make, never what did the other person do. She never missed an activity or game that they were involved in and was their greatest fan.
The birth of her grandson, Cole, was one of the most special days in her life. She doted on him and was involved in every aspect of his life. And then, lo and behold, along came Chloe, the granddaughter she yearned for. These two grandchildren became the focus of her life and she loved them dearly. They affectionately called her "Grammy" and she never missed an activity that they were involved in. Most recently she became dog sitter for her grandpuppy, Rascal.
Her love of children led her to help raise many children other than her own. She was "nana" and "Godmother'' to many and followed them in their lives through school and into adulthood.
The world was certainly a better place with Connie in it. She will be missed by many. She is survived by her husband Ben, her sons Mitch (Shawna) Eckhardt and Corbin (Shelly) Eckhardt, her grandchildren Cole Eckhardt and Chloe Eckhardt all of Greeley, Colorado, her sister Sally (JohnJohnson) Stewart of Greeley, Coforado, her brother Rich (Linda} Stewart of Monument, Colorado and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
There will be a Celebration of Connie's life on October 21st at the Evans Community Center at 1100 37th Street in Evans, Colorado from 2-4 with a short remembrance program at 3 o'clock.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Connie Eckhardt, please visit Tribute Store