MONONA - Francis Eckerman died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013.

He was born on April 28, 1926, in Monroe and grew up in Warren, Ill. Fran attended Warren Schools, graduated at 17 and left for the U.S. Navy the next morning. He served in the Pacific where his ship was sunk by a kamikaze attack on May 4, 1945. After the war, he attended Platteville Teacher’s College and graduate school at the University of Wyoming. Fran married Ruth Andrews in 1951.

He taught and coached basketball at Brodhead for four years, and served as principal of Verona High School from 1954 until 1955. Fran was the safety director at American Automobile Association (AAA) until his retirement in 1987. Since his retirement, he has worked as a driver for Zimbrick Automotive, a job he dearly loved. Fran also enjoyed attending yearly U.S. Navy reunions with his shipmates.

Fran is survived by his wife, Ruth; three children, Tim of Colorado Springs, Chris (Joseph Ripp) of Madison, and Dan of Mukwonago; eight grandchildren, Andrew Eckerman of Texas, Michelle Charlston of Colorado Springs, Eric Heitzinger of Madison, Jamie, Kyle and Alyx Eckerman of Mukwonago, David Ripp of Madison, and Allison Ripp Simkins of Phoenix; two great-grandchildren, Ashton Charlston and Tyler Eckerman; sisters-in-law, Iva Modrich of Raton, N.M., and Norma Andrews of Wauwatosa; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and twin brother, Clifford.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at ST. DENNIS CATHOLIC CHURCH, 505 Dempsey Road, Madison, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, with Father Kent Schmitt presiding. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON EAST FUNERAL HOME, 5203 Monona Drive, Madison, from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, and also at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of Mass on Saturday.

Memorials may be made to Second Harvest, 2802 Dairy Drive, Madison, WI 53718. Online condolences may be made at

Dad always took care of everything and everybody. He was always there for us, and we are all going to miss him.

Gunderson East

Funeral & Cremation Care

5203 Monona Drive

(608) 221-5420

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