Champion of the Month

Mary Eckerle Share

Jan 10, 2019  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

Mary Eck­er­le was born in South Bend, IN, where she was raised and attend­ed high school. She pur­sued high­er edu­ca­tion in Library Sci­ence and land­ed in Kala­ma­zoo, MI where she first attend­ed Nazareth Col­lege, then earned a Master’s degree from West­ern Michi­gan U. She began her ear­ly career in libraries of Mishawa­ka, IN, and Har­vey, IL.

Upon return­ing to South Bend, Mary met her hus­band, Tim Eck­er­le. They made the move to Mar­i­on 34 years ago when he accept­ed a job with the Grant Coun­ty Eco­nom­ic Growth Coun­cil. Mar­i­on then became home. It’s been a great place to raise chil­dren. I see it evolv­ing each year into an even bet­ter, vibrant com­mu­ni­ty,” explained Mary. She began work­ing at the Mar­i­on Pub­lic Library in the children’s dept., and became direc­tor in 2004, a posi­tion she still holds. 

Mary’s pas­sion for read­ing began at a young age. Her love for lit­er­a­cy is imma­nent through the pletho­ra of orga­ni­za­tions in which she is active. Mary served as a mem­ber of the Ear­ly Child­hood Coali­tion, and is cur­rent­ly a mem­ber (& past-pres.) of the Del­phi­an Study Group, pro­mot­ing edu­ca­tion of women. She is also active above and beyond her work scope with the Mar­i­on Pub­lic Library as well as Friends of the Library. I’m proud of our library and its staff. It’s real­ly a won­der­ful place,” she added.

Her appre­ci­a­tion for com­mu­ni­ty shines through her ded­i­ca­tion over the years to the His­toric Mar­i­on Neigh­bor­hood Assn. (where she has served for 15 yrs.), Mar­i­on Com­mu­ni­ty Gar­dens Assn., Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion, Thriv­ing Fam­i­lies Thriv­ing Grant Coun­ty, and through plan­ning events such as Grant County’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Indi­ana Bicen­ten­ni­al & Marion’s Dis­cov­er Downtown. 

Her pas­sion for peo­ple shows through her involve­ment in Pre­vent Child Abuse Grant Coun­ty (has served over 10 yrs. includ­ing plan­ning Kids Count , now PCA Train­ing & Lun­cheon, each yr.), Grace House (help­ing men over­come addic­tion), and St. Martin’s Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter (help­ing the impoverished).

Mary’s faith is shown through her active involve­ment in the St. Paul Catholic Parish Council.

One of her most notable recog­ni­tions was receiv­ing the Athena Award in 2008.

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