Rolland M. Eckels

May 6, 1924July 2, 2017
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Rolland M. Eckels, 93, of Evansville, passed away Sunday, July 2, 2017, at Deaconess Gateway. He was born May 6, 1924, in Evansville, to the late Merrel H. and Veneta (Brummitt) Eckels.

He was one of the founding members of the University of Southern Indiana and president of the Mead Johnson Foundation and director of Public Affairs. He was a board member of Visiting Nurses Association, Tri-State Food Bank, Albion Fellows Bacon Center, SWIRCA, Vanderburgh County Library, Rotary Club, State War Memorial Commission, Channel 9, where he was also past president, board member emeritus at Deaconess Hospital, and Southern Indiana Higher Education, where he was also past president. Rolland was a life member of the VFW Post #1114 and a 33rd Degree Mason. He served in the 8th Air Force of the Army Air Corps in World War II.

Rolland was preceded in death by his brother, Calvin Eckels; and sister, Norma Briody.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis Eckels; daughters, Pamela (John) Guthrie and Barbara (Terry) Huber; son, Jeffrey (Jeanne) Eckels; brother, Larry (Lois) Eckels; grandchildren, Mindy (Russ) Word, Missy (Nathan) Schaumleffel, Laura (Brent) Symon, Allyson (C.B.) Brown, Alex Huber, Tim (Tamra) Eckels, Kristi (Brandon) Gardner and Sarah Eckels; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Private services will be held on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Friends may visit Tuesday from 3:00 to 8:00 PM at Alexander East Chapel.

Memorial contributions may be made to the USI Foundation. Condolences may be made online at


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Rolland M. Eckels

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Rev. Philip Hoy

July 24, 2017

We became friends when I was Executive Director of the Tri-State Food Bank and he was on our Board of Directors.
Rolland was an active, dedicated Board member and a strong contributor the work of the Food Bank.

His extensive contributions to our city and area will be valued and remembered for a long time.

Cindi Lane Wessel

July 16, 2017

Dear Eckles Family, I am so sorry I am just now seeing the passing of your beloved father, husband, grandfather, and friend. I felt so privileged to have continued contact with Mr. Eckels throughout my professional life at VNA. He was a great friend and supporter of the agency through oh so many years. I was grateful for his leadership, and commitment to our agency mission. Please accept this wish of sympathy and prayer that your memories will give you comfort. With a heavy heart, Cindi Lane Wessel

Janet Coleman

July 6, 2017

My deepest sympathy, Phyllis. I am out of town. If not, I would have brought Mom to the funeral home.

Harold&karlyss Pearison

July 5, 2017

Phyllis, Pam.Barb,and Jeff, I am so sorry for your loss. Your in our thoughts and prayers.

July 4, 2017

My buddy at Rotary will surely be missed. Our table won't be the same without him. My condolences to Phyllis and the entire family.

Susie Mattingly

July 4, 2017

Phyllis, Barb, Pam, Jeff, To you my deepest sympathies. I consider Rolland one of my best friends...a man whom I have admired greatly and I feel very blessed to have known him for so many years. I will deeply miss him as will the entire Evansville community and the many people he touched with his generosity and genuine kindness and good humor. There are many who can more eloquently recall Rolland's many achievements better than I. But, Godspeed Rolland, you have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, you have kept the faith. Rest in peace, my good friend. Don Holmes (Kansas City, KS)

Ron and Norma Faust

July 4, 2017

Prayers and sympathy.

July 4, 2017

What a legacy he leaves!!! He was a real pillar to the community. He and Phyllis were great friends to our family. Denise and Barbie had a very special relationship. We send our condolences and God bless you all! Betty and Dave.

Jane Wira

July 4, 2017

Phyllis, Pam, Barbara, Jeff.......You have my deepest sympathy for the passing of Rolland. It is so hard to let family members go away from us. He was such a sweet and caring man. He had a wonderful and fulfilling life. My heart aches for you Phyllis because I know the two of you had such a deep love. You were as one. I love your family dearly. Jane (Brown) and Larry Wira

Bob Leich

July 3, 2017

Rolland was first a great friend of my late father's and then a good friend of mine. Over the years together we served on the Boards of several civic organizations, too numerous to list here. One accomplishment, of which not many are aware, is that a comment that Rolland made at one of these meetings led to the construction of what today we know as Interstate Highway I-69.
At a Chamber of Commerce Committee meeting that I chaired all of the members at the meeting were complaining about there being no highway link from Evansville to Indianapolis. Rolland said, "Well then, why don't we do something about it?" That Chamber Committee founded the "Evansville to Indianapolis Highway Commission," which morphed into "Voices for I-69"...all because of Rolland's poignant remark that got it all started.
He was a fine man who will be missed by those who were privileged to know him.