Sharon Eckersall remembered as ‘relentless, resilient’

Sharon+Eckersall

Source: Funeral program

Sharon Eckersall

Patrick Svitek, City Editor

Family members and friends gathered Thursday morning to remember Sharon Eckersall as a strong-willed public servant who had a soft spot for all types of animals.

“She loved Evanston. She loved it with a passion,” said Sandra Strobeck Ethyre, Eckersall’s sister. “If she believed in something, she really supported it and didn’t back down.”

Eckersall, the incoming assessor of Evanston Township, was found dead in her home on the morning of Sept. 11. Police said they believe she died in her sleep.

Eckersall, 69, was a longtime real estate agent and lifelong resident of the North Shore. She was expected to take office at the beginning of next year, her second tenure in the position.

More than 60 people attended a funeral service for Eckersall at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1509 Ridge Ave.

Keri Eckersall-Mendez, Eckersall’s daughter, recalled her mother teaching her to never give up and “go the extra mile” to help other people.

“She was relentless, resilient, and those are the qualities I adore,” Eckersall-Mendez said, fighting back tears.

The Rev. Debra Bullock agreed with Eckersall-Mendez, saying Eckersall “marched to the beat of her own drum” and always stood up for what she believed in, even if it was not popular.

Another memorable part of Eckersall’s life was her love for animals, according to the speakers. She was a foster parent to golden retrievers, and her family has invited loved ones to donate to As Good as Gold, a Woodridge, Ill., based nonprofit organization that cares for the breed.

Arthur Strobeck, Eckersall’s brother, told the funeral audience his sister’s affinity for animals is the “one thing I want you to remember.” He recalled he once accompanied her while she was walking one of her less conventional pets — a rooster.

“Sure enough, traffic stopped,” Strobeck said. “People had never seen anything like this before.”

Before the family members shared their memories, a relative read a letter to Sharon Eckersall from her son Edwin Eckersall, who was known as “Ecky.” He died in 2008 at age 33.

“Life is hard,” he told his mother, “but you taught me everything works out.”

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Twitter: @PatrickSvitek