By Beth David, Editor
It’s been 10 years since Winfred Eckenreiter succumbed to a heart attack at the age of 56. A sitting Fairhaven Selectboard member at the time, Mr. Eckenreiter was remembered as a good friend, a good boss, and a family man.
He left behind a wife and four children. His youngest was in kindergarten, the oldest was a sophomore in high school. They are now 14 to 26 and, by all accounts, would make their dad proud.
Sandra Eckenreiter said she wanted to remember her husband and celebrate “his life on earth.”
He would be so proud of his children, she said.
“Every time I look I think, ‘wow,’” she said. “It makes me sad of all the things he missed with his children. He would be so proud of them. They’re all doing well.”
Three are in college and one is in high school. They are all talented in theater, music, acting, singing.
“Nothing has stopped these kids,” said Sandra. “They deal with things differently than other kids their age. They accept things, the good and the bad.”
As sad as it sounds, she said, the world continues to go on, “therefore, we’ve got to continue to go on.”
Along the way, enjoy every minute.
“Because life doesn’t come with guarantees,” she said. “It’s moment by moment. You’ve got to appreciate those moments. Take them for what they’re worth, learn from them and move on.”
When it comes to the children, she uses the word “accomplished” a lot, when describing them. Rachel is in pre-veterinary medicine and plans on going to graduate school to study epidemiology, Michael is studying theater at Bridgewater State, Joshua is at Bristol Community College studying video game development, Christina is an accomplished cellist.
“I think of him whenever they accomplish something,” said Sandra.
As for the children, they think of him often, too. They said he supported their passions, even as they switched from one passion to another.
Christina, who was so young when her father died, said she has to live through photos more than her older siblings, and she gets emotional when she thinks about it. She just remembers being with him, and that they were close.
It’s the small things that they all remember the most.
He loved nature, and had a farm in Fairhaven where he could get outdoors often.
“He loved life,” said Christina. “And that’s beautiful.”
Michael remembers playing baseball in the yard and other sports. Joshua got to stay up late watching wrestling. He remembers playing wrestling video games with his dad.
But all that just translates to the same thing: He loved life and supported their passions.
Rachel, the oldest, asked her siblings to name what part of their dad’s parenting they would bring to their own parenting.
The results, she said, were unanimous: “To ardently support our children’s passions and dreams.”
She and her mother recalled how Michael kept changing which instrument he wanted to play.
“He went to piano lessons and came home with a guitar,” said Sandra.
“It’s all about pursuing our happiness. He had such a passion for life,”said Rachel. “My father took care to show us how important the pursuit of our dreams was. Currently, we are all tirelessly chasing our dreams,” said Rachel. “I miss him. We all miss him every day. I hope he knew how much his encouragement meant to us.”
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