Rusty Eck, 67, of Orofino, retired firefighter, passed away Tuesday, March 6, 2012, after a grueling battle with cancer.
He was born April 25, 1944, in Moscow, and spent his early years in Elk River. During his childhood, he was known far and wide for his shenanigans and high jinks. He graduated fourth in his class from Elk River High School and attended the University of Idaho.
After high school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served in Thailand for one tour. After being honorably discharged, he started a 46-year career in wildfire. He worked for the Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association as a fire warden and later as the fire and program planner, where he was a constant fixture on people's scanners throughout the region.
Rusty met his future wife at a dance, and a lifelong love affair ensued. The couple married July 25, 1969, and made their home in Elk River, where they made many lifelong friends. They had two rollicking boys, and enjoyed living at the Fire Patrol. He was promoted in 1984, and the family moved to Orofino, where his wife still resides.
He enjoyed participating in national fire assignments, ranging from New Mexico to Arizona, and was a fixture in most local parades with his beloved 1914 White fire engine. His "fill in" gig with the local band, The Paradons, turned into a 17-year run playing bass and singing throughout the region to their many fans. After his retirement in 2006, his new passion in life was preserving local logging history with his "crew." They enjoyed many days talking with old loggers and documenting pictures from the past.
Rusty is survived by his wife; two sons; two grandchildren; mother; and brother. He was preceded in death by his father, Carmen, and brother Neil Eck.
The family suggests memorials to the American Heart Association in lieu of flowers. A memorial will be conducted at 11 a.m. Monday in Orofino at Pine Hills Funeral Chapel. Potluck to follow at the VFW Hall.
Pine Hills Funeral Chapel and Crematory of Orofino is in care of arrangements.
Lewiston Tribune, March 10, 2012, p. 5D
Transcribed by Jill Leonard Nock
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