Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ted Eck Sept. 20, 1935 - Aug. 22, 2014 Expert in Glass Houses and Floriculture Study

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ted Eck Sept. 20, 1935 - Aug. 22, 2014 Expert in Glass Houses and Floriculture Study

Article excerpt

Ted Eck's eyes often were averted toward the earth.

Whether he was hiking through the mountains of Europe or strolling through the meadow of his 5-acre homestead in Pine or walking from his car to a store, Mr. Eck was looking to see what was sprouting from or crawling on the ground.

"He had such a love for things that grew, for nature. He knew what he loved, and he did what he loved, and so his heart sang," his wife, Janet Eck, said Sunday, of her husband of 42 years, who died Friday from a sudden illness at the age of 78.

Theodore James Eck was born Sept. 20, 1935, in Oklahoma City. He was educated at the University of Illinois in floriculture, the art, science and study of blooming things. His formal education followed years of playing in the dirt and the waterways of Savannah, Ga.

"He was a farm kid," said Mrs. Eck. As a child, he helped at his family's nursery.

About 52 years ago, he took a job with Fred C. Gloeckner Co. of New York City as a horticultural consultant and salesman in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. He never retired from the position, which involved design and maintenance of "glass houses," better known today as greenhouses.

Mrs. Eck said her husband was able to coax to life flowers and plants of all varieties, but it was a lit match that sparked the marriage that ultimately grew the couple's family.

On a Saturday night in Shadyside, Mrs. Eck, then Janet Ecker, was out with her roommate for the evening. Ms. Ecker was smoking and had run out of matches. "I turned around and said, 'Does anybody have a match?'" she recalled. Ted provided the spark that ultimately led to two daughters and a granddaughter.

A whirlwind romance culminated in marriage on March 4, 1973. Mrs. Eck said they were kindred spirits. She hailed from Derry, Westmoreland County, growing up on a dairy and poultry farm.

The couple bought a greenhouse in Bradford Woods just before they married, and their first home was a renovated 600-square-foot potting shed next to the greenhouse. …

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