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.