Our loss was Heaven's gain when Dean Wilson Eacker finished his course
on December 7, 2007 at 5:05am at Syringa General Hospital in Grangeville. He was
suffering from complications of two worn out heart valves. He was 91.
Dean was born in Albion, Nebraska on August 31, 1916 to Hyron Mortier and Ermal
Vivian (Porter) Eacker who were from Kansas. His parents were musical and Dean was
playing the fiddle by age 11. When he was 13, the family moved to
Twin Falls, Idaho and Dean and his brother Merrell played for house parties.
In three years the radio beckoned him. At 16 years old he was playing the guitar and singing
with his brother and uncle at KTFI radio station. The next year
he joined the Reno Racketters (his first professional group) and has been
playing bass guitar and fiddle professionally ever since as well as
singing with is smooth tenor voice. He sang with the Southern Stars
and Purple Sage Riders, interspersed with radio broadcasts on station WIBWO in Topeka, Kansas, where he did
15 to 18 shows live each day.
Spade Cooley hired him to Hollywood in 1943. There he backed Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, made
some movies and played fora number two hit in the nation. The song was "Detour". He recorded it
again with the Bar Q Wranglers. In Hollywood, he was a member of the HOllywood Christian
Group along with dale Evans. In the 50s, Dean worked with STuart Hamblen then for Smoky Rodgers
as part of the Western Caravan and a TV program on channel eight out of San Diego.
There they played for three straight hours every day but Sunday. In 1959 Dean toured
with Hugh Farr and the Sons of the Pioneers. From 1969 to 1984 he played fiddle and bass with the Sons of the
Golden West. He then joined the Bar J Chuck Wagon in Jackson, Wyoming.
He experienced the highs of musical success and of raising a family and the lows of
losing two wives, Thelma and then Rose, both to death. He has some regrets regarding these days
but was thankful he carried a coffee cup instead of drinking alcohol.
While playing at the Senior Center in Post Falls, he met Dawn, whose husband had died in 1975. In three months
they were married and lived in Hidden Valley. In 1991 the bought a home in Kamiah and began singing together a log. THough they did concerts for profit, they more often gave their talent
as a gift. They have performed for the Frontier Days, Camas Days, River Fest, at the Old Opera House
in Winchester at 50-plus camps in Deer Park, Washington, in Spokane, Troy, Weippe, Idaho County Cattleman's Association,
various anniversaries, weddings, funerals, many churches, Cowboy Poets Association in Kooskin and Lewiston,
Orofino Senior Center, Grangeville Senior Center, and many others, in Utah, with the Bar G Wranglers,
in Lewiston, Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin and even Branson, Missouri at the Ozark Chaparral May 5 to 9, 2003.
In these later years, Dean had felt more pleasure in singing for seniors and shut-ins than he ever did professionally.
They were given the President's Volunteer Service Award from the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation
for a combined time of over 10,000 hours of volunteer work. The Eackers are also members
of the Idaho Commission on the Arts in Boise.
In 1951 Dean's life took on new meaning after he listened to Billy Graham on the radio
of his Mercury Slant Back Car. He gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ and has been a
truly happy Christian, growing ever since.
He leaves behind his loving wife, Dawn and family, his and hers. He lost a son, Ronnie, two years
ago on Christmas Eve. He leaves Russell and wife Judy; Nancy and husband Al Roberts;
Merrell and wife Tammy; and Harry and wife Vicky. He leaves Dawn's children who loved him very much. They are
Ed Clark and wife Janet; Carl and husband Lee Hamilton; Linda Lampman and dan Clark.
There are grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-greats. He leaves a sister, Vivian
and husband Jim Bramblet; sister Harriet and husband Bud Hammamand; cousins, and others,
his little dog Tristan, a little boy named DAvid who gave Dean a Teddy Bear, his first, and knitted
a scarf to tie around its neck. Many will miss his ready smile.
His burial was at Woodland Cemetary at 11am, December 11, 2007. The memorial service was
December 11, 2007 at Valley View Church of the Nazarene, Kamiah, Idaho. Trenary Funeral Home of Kooskia assisted
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