Bernard Joseph Eckholdt, Jr. passed away on April 11, 2021, at home surrounded by his family after a brief battle with lung cancer and COPD.
BJ, 84, was born May 16, 1936, to the late Florence Zoe Nolan and Bernard J. Eckholdt, Sr. He is survived by his wife of almost 63 years, Joan Hankins Eckholdt and his three children, BJ III and his wife, Susan Kreider Eckholdt, Gwen Eckholdt Barron and her husband, Ron, and James William Eckholdt, Sr. He was “Humbug” to his grandchildren Stephen Joseph Eckholdt and his wife, Leanne, Daniel John Eckholdt, Scott Eckholdt Barron, Taylor Hankins Barron, James William Eckholdt, Jr., and great-grandson Henry Walter Eckholdt. He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents Florence Huot and James J. Nolan, Jr. and his two aunts Dorothy M. Nolan and Margaret L. Nolan, who all played an important role in his life.
BJ was reared in his beloved Irish Channel by his loving and doting extended family after losing his mother, Florence, minutes after his birth. He attended St. Theresa of Avilla grammar school and spent most of his after-school time and summers at Kingsley House playing sports year-round. He later graduated from Holy Cross High School where he ran track and was a member of the Tiger Marching Band. After graduation in 1954 he went on to Loyola University New Orleans where he was a member of BEGGARS Fraternity.
While he never saw a battle serving in the Louisiana National guard from 1954 to 1966, BJ brought relief to victims of hurricanes Audrey and Betsy. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.
His volunteerism during his life was most notable. He worked tirelessly for Resurrection of Our Lord Parish where his children attended grammar school. From raising funds to painting classrooms to cooking for the fair, BJ found time to serve. He coached on a voluntary basis for years at NORD playground Kerry Curley and at Resurrection for the weekend intramural leagues. Although he was a proud Holy Cross alumnus, he gladly volunteered at Brother Martin when his son BJ III chose to be a Crusader, Jesuit when his son Jay was in attendance at Carrollton and Banks, and of course Dominican where he cooked every year for Family Fun Day during his favorite daughter Gwen’s tenure on Walmsley Ave. Once BJ retired, his service to the community took on an even greater role as he joined several cultural as well as faith-based organizations. With a background in accounting, he usually wound up serving as treasurer for these organizations. BJ served as treasurer for the Hibernians for 12 years and helped reorganize the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1988, serving as an officer for the James Cardinal Gibbons Division of the Order, when it was founded in 1992. He also served as treasurer of the Louisiana Hibernian Charity and the Friends of St. Alphonsus.
He was active in the Belle Terre Golf Club Seniors, acting as treasurer for years. He was a charter member of the Krewe of Pontchartrain and also The Lake Forest Racquet Club.
As a third-generation native New Orleanian, whose ancestors came from County Cork, BJ follows his grandfather James Nolan and a long line of Hibernians. He was named 2020 and 2021 Hibernian of the Year by the Louisiana State Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and was recently honored at a Mass on St. Patrick’s Day celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Archbishop Alfred Hughes, and several Irish-born priests.
He worked for Marine Shale Processors, Lonestar Industries, and Louisiana Cement as chief information officer, controller, and plant accountant.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation at St. Patrick’s Church at 724 Camp St., on Monday, April 26, 2021 from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, with the Funeral Mass to begin at 2:00 pm. Burial will follow in St. Patrick’s Cemetery #1. Donations may be made to Friends of St. Alphonsus, P.O. Box 57143, New Orleans, LA 70157. The family invites you to share your thoughts, fond memories, and condolences online at www.greenwoodfh.com
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