William R. Ecklund
William was born in Brighton on February 20, 1930, a son of the late Eric and Eva (Peate) Ecklund. Bill spent his entire life in Lowell, and was a graduate of the Sacred Heart Grammar School and Lowell High School, where he was a standout pitcher for the LHS Baseball Team.
Upon his graduation in 1948, Mr. Ecklund was drafted by the Boston Red Sox, with whom he played from 1948 to 1950. In 1951, his rights were purchased by the St. Louis Browns.
From 1951 to 1953 Bill served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Upon returning from Korea, Bill played his fifth and final minor league season for the Baltimore Orioles.
During the 1949 season, playing for the Centralia of the Mississippi Valley League, his team was one of the first to integrate and have an African American player on the roster. The stories of his experiences with the racial prejudice and threats of violence toward himself and his team made a lasting impression on his children.
After his baseball career, Bill became an electrician. He was a member of Local 103 IBEW Boston, MA.
Bill stayed active in local baseball, and in the late 1950's was instrumental in restarting the Post 87 Legion Baseball Team, where he coached for ten seasons.
On November 21, 1959, William married Virginia P. Turmel of Hudson, NH. Together they celebrated over 51 years of marriage and raised three children in their Highlands neighborhood home. He was a communicant of St. Margaret's Church.
Bill was generous with his family and friends. He was a fun loving and playful father and grandfather. His penchant for travel, especially in his R.V. instilled in his children a taste for adventure.
Bill started skiing at the age of 50, traveling the United States and Europe in search of the next great run. He continued skiing until he was 78 years old.
In addition to his wife, Ginny, Bill is survived by his three children, Karen M. Ecklund of Fairfax, CA, Tanya Hickey of Lowell, and William E. Ecklund of Nashua, NH; his brother, Ernest Ecklund and his wife, Helen of Dracut; and two grandsons, Zachery and Andrew Hickey of Lowell. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Bill was the brother of the late Eric Ecklund and George Ecklund.
In Lowell, March 9, 2011 at his home. William R. "Bill" Ecklund,
81, loving husband of Virginia "Ginny" (Turmel) Ecklund.