OBITUARY

Herbert Franz Otto Eckhoff

October 23, 1932November 11, 2020

Major Herbert Franz Otto Eckhoff, USAF RET, 88, passed on November 11, 2020, with his wife Lisa and their two Great Pyrenees dogs Arabella & Lady by his side.

Although born in New Rochelle, NY, Herbert spent his formative years in Schenefeld, Germany, near Hamburg, before his family returned to the States. Coming of age in the Bronx, NY, Herbert’s favorite pastimes were riding his bicycle and playing stickball; but his mother made certain he had a piano for music lessons, and on Saturday afternoons would call him inside to listen to radio broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera. Singing in various youth ensembles and church choir further instilled a love of music in him.

Upon high school graduation, he joined the United States Air Force and started a family. They traveled the world, and he fulfilled many positions including Morse Code Instructor before rising to the rank of Major as a Missile Guidance Officer for the Titan I Strategic Missile System and as Director of Maintenance at Tactical Communications Area Headquarters. Service highlights include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. Following a stellar 20-year career, his desire to sing once again captured his attention, prompting his service retirement. He subsequently earned two degrees at the University of Colorado – Boulder before embarking on a 35-year distinguished teaching and singing career with opera houses (including the Metropolitan) and orchestras across America and Europe. He met his beloved wife Lisa – a violinist with whom he enjoyed years of travel and musical adventures – while visiting Knoxville to be a soloist in Knoxville Symphony Orchestra performances of the Verdi Requiem.

He is preceded in death by his parents Herbert & Ella Eckhoff. He is survived by beloved family members: Wife Lisa Muci; children from his previous marriage to Laurie: Paul Eckhoff (Kammi), Eric W Eckhoff (Sondra), Linda Copeland (Rod), and Mark Eckhoff (Hilarry); grandchildren John Eckhoff (Leire), Erik Eckhoff (Monique), Hans Eckhoff, Anna Eckhoff, Madison Eckhoff, and Evan Eckhoff; great grandchildren Julen Eckhoff Alberdi and Alex Eckhoff Alberdi; cousins Robert Heinsohn, Nancy McDonough (Chris), and Gisela Goldstein (Alf); in-laws Jay Muci (Rhita) and Darren Muci (Gilda).

In lieu of flowers, donations honoring Herbert may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, the Monroe County Friends of Animals Building Fund in Vonore, TN, or the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO. An outdoor memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM Friday, November 20, 2020, at Whispering Waters in Berry Highland Memorial Cemetery, 4401 Sutherland Avenue behind the mortuary located at 5315 Kingston Pike. Masks and social distancing are expected. Friends may leave their thoughts and memories at www.berryhighlandmemorial.com.

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Herbert Franz Otto Eckhoff

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David and Judy Lee

November 26, 2020

We were saddened to hear of Hebert’s passing. He had wonderful stories to tell and enjoyed the opportunity to tell them in German. You could hear the singer in that rich bass voice that was so powerful and distinctive. We feel fortunate that we got to know him. Our condolences to Lisa and to his many family members.

Joseph/Rhita Muci

November 25, 2020

Herbert was a wonderful husband for our daughter Lisa. We appreciated the relationship we developed during their marriage. We will miss the stories about the many travel experiences they enjoyed together. Thank you Herb for respecting our daughter and taking care of her. You were a great match for Lisa and we will miss you but we will meet again in the great beyond. Rhita and Jay

Abby Arthur

November 24, 2020

Lisa,
I served with you on the Wichita Symphony Board. My condolences for your loss. I am keeping you in my thoughts.
Abby Arthur

Susan and John Gunning

November 20, 2020

Lisa and family,
John and I are holding you in our thoughts and prayers today. Reading Herb's obituary we were amazed at his diverse experinces. Lisa, I remember those Verdi Requium performances. I was playing in KSO then.
May your many memories sustain you at this difficult time.
Susan and John

Darren Muci

November 19, 2020

Herb was a great man, friend and husband to my favorite sister, Lisa! He really took care of her, and for that we will forever be thankful. We always enjoyed the fun, interesting and unique stories from his life and career that he shared , and miss him terribly. Our parents spoke with Herb daily and will miss their daily communication and sharing of information on what Lisa and the dogs were doing.
Herb will be missed, and we are very thankful that he was a part of our lives. We also enjoyed getting to know Herb’s children and are praying for them as well.

Mark Eckhoff

November 18, 2020

Son, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, Veteran, opera singer, music fanatic, history buff, life-long learner, traveler, dog lover, unofficial spokesperson for Knoxville…my dad. We all evolve with time. Like a fine wine, my dad was no exception. Particularly, in his last few decades, Dad’s personal growth, adaptability, and courage were commendable and admirable. Dad was a fighter until the end.
Most of Dad’s friends and followers undoubtedly knew of his admirable Air Force and opera careers. Many of you will know of the incredible bond he forged with his loving wife, Lisa. I want to share some other thoughts. Dad had a goofy side, and he could crack me up with some of his antics, which I won’t share here. If you were ever on a road trip with my dad, you were always prepared to stop at Dairy Queen along the way. Dad could never leave less than a three minute voicemail, and sometimes he would call back to add to his message. Modern technology was restraining for him. Dad was a bit of a free-spirit and wanderer, often just wanting to get in his car and drive. He really loved doing this in Knoxville and he would always brag about the beauty of Tennessee. Dad developed a deep interest in the Great Pyrenees dog breed, and his dogs became a close part of his family. I seriously think he could communicate with his canine kids.
Dad was proud of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He loved getting visits, skype calls and phone calls from his extended family, and he took a keen interest in the events of our lives. Dad showed us another side of him over the past several years, and that let his family relationships strengthen. I was most comfortable seeing dad watching a well-known preacher a while back, and hearing how he liked his messages. I know he was comforted by prayers around the world, and I know he’s now at perpetual peace with his loving Father in Heaven. Rest in peace Dad. You are missed. Your son, Mark

Michael Rodgers

November 17, 2020

Lisa, my condolences to you and the family. Herbert was always very encouraging and always made me feel like I could accomplish anything in this field of study. He always had a kind word to say after a performance. He will be greatly missed. Please take care until we meet again.

Michael Rodgers

Penny Lukin

November 17, 2020

Although I never met Herb, I heard wonderful things about him from his wife Lisa.
I just wanted to extend my sympathy and prayers to all his family and those who knew him and loved him.

Catherine Braunstein

November 16, 2020

Dear Lisa
My prayers and thoughts are with you.
I am sharing your loss and will forever remember the joy of Jerry in Bayreuth and the many times we were together.

Carl Halperin

November 16, 2020

Herb was a cherished friend of nearly 30 years. He and Lisa will always remain in my heart the lovely couple I met and befriended in Spoleto, Italy, where Herb was singing, in the summer of 1993.
Our friendship was based on a shared love of music, along with love of life. Herb was a large man-- large of frame, large of heart, and even larger than life. His jolly laugh and disposition were contagious, and his artistry very moving for me. Always.
He brought happiness to so many, and i.can only now wish him a peaceful rest. Lisa, whom he loved so dearly, grieves this loss deeply, along with his many friends and relatives. The world is a sadder place today without Herb.

Carl Halperin

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Dad, Lisa, and the AZ crew.

FROM THE FAMILY

Dad, Lisa, Mark, and Evan.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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