John Eck, Sr.
John Eck, Sr. is a 1958 graduate of Cathedral Boys High School and a 1962 graduate of Notre Dame University with a degree in accounting, where he was later the recipient of the Award of the Year from the Central Illinois Notre Dame Alumni Club. As a certified public accountant, he has used his CPA background in providing assistance to many organizations such as, the CPA Management Services, Inc., the National Management of Accounting Practices committee, the National Association of Treasures of Religious Orders accounting manual.
Throughout the city of Springfield and beyond, John has served on more boards than we can name today and was instrumental in forming several of these boards. He helped Sister Dominica Brennan, then prioress of the Dominican Sisters, begin the Sacred Heart Academy Lay Advisory Board and served as its first Chairman; he was part of the feasibility committee to study combining Sacred Heart Academy and Griffin High School; and most recently, he worked with the Dominican Sisters to help them design a Development Office. John served as Chairman of Springfield College in Illinois Board of Trustees when they merged with Benedictine University, and was instrumental in establishing the Catholic High School Fund Drive. While president of the Boys & Girls Club, he began a program to purchase Christmas gifts of hats and gloves for children in the club. John was one of the four original members of St. John’s Hospital Foundation. When St. Patrick’s was facing closure if funds weren’t raised in a short time, John spearheaded the fundraising effort, and the school is still a vibrant presence on the city’s east side.
John’s expertise in finances has always been a talent that he generously shares with other. Presently, he serves on the advisory board of the Monastery of Mary the Queen Dominican Nuns, helping them to raise money to build a monastery in Girard, IL. The first thing he did when asked to assist them was to help them realize the fundraising company they had hired was not fulfilling their contract. The company was costing the congregation far more money than they were raising. Together with another gentleman, John has spent countless hours meeting with the nuns and calling on individuals and corporations to donate for the construction of their monastery. Clearly, Mr. Eck is never one to shy away from fundraising when needed.
John has two daughters, who attended Sacred Heart Academy, and they both share a similar story about their dad. At graduation time, a girl in each of their classes owed her final tuition payment and wasn’t going to graduate. Anonymously, Mr. Eck came to the academy and paid the last tuition bill for each young woman so that she could graduate. His daughter commented that her dad probably won’t be happy that this story is being told because he didn’t want anyone to know that he had done this.
When the Land of Lincoln Community Foundation was first established, John started an Eck Family Fund to help those who need monetary assistance. Most of the distributions from this fund have been for the benefit and betterment of children.
Mr. Eck has worked hard during his life to balance the love and responsibility he feels toward his family along with his belief that he has a responsibility to share his talent and treasure with the broader Springfield community. Catholic education in Springfield and, particularly, at SHG has been enhanced and propelled by this belief.
John and his wife Linda of 54 years have four children Cris Lust, John, Jr., Tom, and Paula Clifton who have all graduated from Sacred Heart Academy or Griffin High School. Notably, John shares the stage today with two of his twelve grandchildren. Because John so generously shares his time, talent and treasure with so many people and institutions, it is my privilege to induct him into the Sacred Heart-Griffin Hall of Fame, joining his sister and son among this prestigious group of alumni.