Ellen C. Eckberg, 95, teacher, world traveler

October 28, 2002

Ellen C. Eckberg, a retired teacher and homemaker who spent nearly three decades traveling the world with her Navy officer husband, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at Ginger Cove Health Center in Annapolis. She was 95.

Born Ellen Cable in Baltimore, she graduated from what was then Maryland State Normal School -- now Towson University -- and taught in the Baltimore area.

She and her husband, Herbert F. Eckberg, then a senior at the Naval Academy, met on a blind date in 1927 and married a year later at the beginning of Captain Eckberg's naval career, which took the couple from the Far East to South America.

During the Korean War, Captain Eckberg, who died in 1989, was stationed in Panama and Mrs. Eckberg, who spoke Spanish, volunteered for the Red Cross.

Throughout, she did remedial tutoring.

After Captain Eckberg retired from the military in 1956, the couple spent 15 years teaching -- Captain Eckberg as dean of Bucknell University's School of Engineering, Mrs. Eckberg as an elementary school teacher in the Lewisburg, Pa., area.

The Eckbergs moved to Annapolis in 1971, joining a thriving community of Navy retirees.

"She was a typical grand Navy wife who loved to travel and entertain," said retired Navy Capt. Robert Adrian, a close family friend.

In Annapolis, Mrs. Eckberg was a member of the local garden club and St. Margaret's Episcopal Church.

She and her husband, an avid fisherman, enjoyed taking their small boat out to crab and fish, said her daughter, Elenita Brodie of Casselberry, Fla. Mrs. Eckberg also enjoyed gardening and set up a butterfly garden in her yard, Mrs. Brodie said.

"She had a very sweet smile and loved meeting people," Mrs. Brodie said. "She was incredibly gracious."

A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Eckberg is survived by one grandson, Allan Brodie of Altamonte Springs, Fla., and one granddaughter, Laura Brodie of Winter Park, Fla.

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