SLEEPY EYE- Dr. Anton J. "Tony" Eckstein, 85,died Monday, April 13, 2009, at the Divine Providence Community Home in Sleepy Eye.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 18, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in New Ulm with burial in the New Ulm Catholic Cemetery. Monsignor DouglasGrams will celebrate the Mass. Full military honors will be conducted at the cemetery by the New Ulm Area Comrades of Valor Honor Guard.
Visitation will be 4 - 8 p.m., Friday and 7:30 - 11 a.m. Saturday at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home in New Ulm. The St. Patrick's Council of the Knights of Columbus and the St. Joseph's Catholic Aid Council will pray a combined rosary at 6 p.m., and there will be a parish prayer service at 7 p.m. both Friday at the funeral home.
To leave online condolences or to sign the guest book go to www.mvfh.org.
Tony is survived by his wife, Harriet Eckstein of New Ulm; daughters and sons-in-law, Beverly and Jack Friend of Clinton, Iowa, Mary and David Withee of Suamico, Wisconsin, Catherine Eckstein of New Ulm, Barbara and Kenneth Rieke of St. George; sons and daughter-in-law, Bradley and Janet Eckstein of New Ulm, Thomas Eckstein of New Ulm; grandchildren, Julie, David and Daniel Friend, Anna Withee, Aaron, Douglas and Casey Eckstein, Timothy, Elizabeth and Andrew Rieke; great-grandchildren, Aidan, Dylan and Colin Friend, Aidan and Ethan Eckstein, Brooke Merkel; sisters and brothers-in-law, Marie Kaping of Hutchinson, LaDonna and LaVerne Schugel of Falcon Heights, Joann and William Foley of Bemidji; brothers and sisters-in-law, Edward and Irene Eckstein of Comfrey, Patrick and Nikki Eckstein of New Ulm; sisters-in-law, Bernice Eckstein of Sleepy Eye, Helen Eckstein of New Ulm, Nancy Eckstein of Richfield and Mary Jane Eckstein of New Ulm.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant son; a sister, Arlene Hamilton; brothers, John, Leo, Walter, Henry Jr. and Alvin Eckstein; brothers-in-law, Frederick Hamilton and Elmer Kaping; and by many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Anton Joseph Eckstein was born May 29, 1923 in Cottonwood Township, Brown County to Henry and Anna (Dittrich) Eckstein. He attended Cottonwood Country School, St. Mary's Grade School, Holy Trinity High School and graduated from New Ulm High School in 1941. He graduated from Iowa State University with a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1946. While attending Iowa State he served with the U.S. Army Specialized Training Program and was a Phi Kappa Fraternity member. Tony was united in marriage to Harriet Mathews on June 29,1946 at St. Cecelia's Catholic Church in Ames, Iowa. Following graduation Tony started his veterinary career in Olivia. He returned to New Ulm to start his own successful practice in 1947. After the sale of his business in 1983 he worked at the Sleepy Veterinary Clinic, Sleepy Eye Auction Market, Peitrus Foods and for the USDA in Buffalo Lake.
Tony's political career started in 1959 when he won the election as a write-in candidate for mayor of New Ulm. He also served as Councilor at Large and City Councilman. Tony was on the Building Committee for the current St. Mary's Church. Hewas elected to the Minnesota State House of Representatives in 1970 and served from 1971 to 1978. During that time he was appointed to serve on many committees and regulatory boards including Vice Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, President of the Semi States Committee, Agriculture Committee, Transportation Committee, River Basin Commission, Minnesota Ethical Practice Board and was President of the Minnesota State Board of Veterinary Medicine. Tony was also a member of numerous organizations including a life member of the American Veterinary Association, Minnesota State Veterinary Association, Minnesota Valley Veterinary Medical Association, Iowa State University Alumni Association, St. Mary's Catholic Church, 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, German Bohemian Society, Brown County Historical Society and Turner Hall.
Tony enjoyed the professions he chose both as a veterinarian and as a politician. He had a special way of caring for animals both large and small. Some of his proudest accomplishments were the Harkin Store, 20th South Street Bridge, Highway 14 bypass and securing the DNR Regional Headquarters. A highlight of Tony's life was a People to People Tour with a group of Iowa State Veterinarians to Eastern European and Scandinavian Universities in 1965.
His limited free time was spent fishing and attending auctions. He would inevitably bring home more from the auctions than his fishing outings. The big white fire truck was the prize! Tony had been a resident of the Divine Providence Community Home in Sleepy Eye since October, 2006.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to the donor's choice.