Carl A. Eck, founder and senior partner of the Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck law firm, died on Saturday. He was 81.
A graduate of Notre Dame's undergraduate program and law school, Mr. Eck and his wife, Jane, moved to Pittsburgh in 1959, settling in Mount Washington, after he served as a judge advocate general in the Air Force in France.
"He always joked that he knew the minute he was born that he wanted to be a lawyer and that he wanted to go to Notre Dame," said his wife of 57 years.
Along with an affiliation with a number of legal associations -- the American Academy of Trial Lawyers, the American Law Firm Association and the Allegheny County Bar Association -- Mr. Eck joined the Sierra Club, Chartiers Country Club and actively supported the DePaul School for Hearing and Speech in Shadyside.
"Carl was my mentor, my instructor, my teacher. He was everything to me in terms of my legal career," said Eric Anderson, a partner and executive committee member of Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, who has worked at the firm for 35 years. "He was one of the deans of the trial bar. He was one of the guys that everyone looked up to. When it came to a trial attorney, you thought of someone like Carl Eck."
"He always had time [to train members of his practice] despite having an incredibly intense and busy practice himself," said his son, Mark Eck, who worked under his father and remains at the firm.
Among Mr. Eck's biggest passions was the church. He was a devout Catholic and spent more than 50 years as an active parishioner at St. Bernard Church in Mt. Lebanon.
"Just as important as [his practice] was to him, he was more committed to his Catholic faith and how he dealt with people and the impacts he could have on people's lives," said Mark Eck.
Mr. Eck played squash, handball and tennis, and skied. Later in life, he took up golf, but joked that he would only play golf, "when he couldn't do anything else."
"Whether it was with law or on the squash court he was very competitive, but he knew when to be tough and when to be gentle; he was very generous," said Mr. Anderson.
"He loved the law, loved his family, loved exercise, loved his church and loved Notre Dame," said Mrs. Eck. "He lived the life he wanted to live."
In addition to his wife, Mr. Eck is survived by six children, Mark of Verona, Anne of Mt. Lebanon, Kathryn of Mt. Lebanon, Michael of Rye, N.Y., Christopher of Indianapolis and Jennifer of Mt. Lebanon; 22 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today at Laughlin Memorial Chapel, 222 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon. A Mass will be celebrated in St. Bernard Church at noon Wednesday.
Memorials may be made to DePaul School for Hearing & Speech, 6202 Alder St., Pittsburgh 15206 or Family Hospice, 50 Moffett St., Pittsburgh 15243.
Andrew Gretchko: firstname.lastname@example.org.