Rumson, NJ. Raymond Christy Eckhoff, age 87, passed away on February 21, 2020 surrounded by his family including his wife, Joyce and children. Born in the Greenville section of Jersey City on January 28, 1933 to Joseph and Mary Eckhoff (nee Pfieffenberger), Ray treasured his childhood and especially his brother, Jerry and his sister, Peggy (Delaney) and a dog named Spot. Ray attended St. Paul’s and Snyder High School and enjoyed Jersey City life, taking trolleys and buses everywhere. However, his heart was always in Rumson. Ray looked forward to his summer at the Shore on Holly Street under the guidance of his maiden Aunt and three bachelor uncles -- all of whom had a unique perspective on life. Ray enjoyed the “country” Rumson, with only a few cars, dirt roads, and woods filled with blackberries, but mostly he enjoyed the Navesink River! To him fishing and scalp net crabbing were two of the best things in life. At first, he was only allowed on Blackpoint Creek, but gradually the river opened up with a hefty pair of oars and later a Jersey skiff. Ray borrowed his cousin Elmer Blumel's dog “ Tippy” to replace “Spot” and round out the “Happy Days”. Excitement continued into the night with the aid of cousin Billy Watson, and dusk raids of neighboring gardens for tomatoes and peaches. Other fun included the Firemen’s and Church Fairs (some even had rides!), and then his parents’ weekly visits which would lead to Long Branch, the Penny Arcade, Max’s Hot Dogs, root beers and frozen custards. Ray, with his friends would often walk to Sea Bright – to body surf, eat frozen Milky Ways, scrounge for two-cent deposit soda bottles, watch the fishing boats land and then walk the mile home to the refreshing garden hose! “What a Life!”
After high school, Ray was employed by the Crucible Steel Company in Harrison. Hot, dirty work but great pay! Ray was in the US Naval Reserve and went on Active Duty in 1953, during the Korean War. He served as an Electrician Mate 3rd Class, on the USS White Marsh (LSD-8). “He joined the Navy to see the world! And what did he see? He saw the sea!” Upon release from active duty, Ray joined his father to live in Rumson, a life-long dream. Here, Ray met Joyce Bush, a Rumson native; they married in November of 1960 and moved into the new home that Ray built for his bride. Joyce still lives there today where she treasures the memories of 59 years of a blessed life together.
Ray and Joyce joyfully raised two wonderful children, Patricia Hopkins (Bradley) of Miami Beach and Raymond J. Eckhoff (Jennifer) of Rumson. With the Rumson clan and grandchildren, Jessica Rae and Jamie Lynne Eckhoff many good times at birthdays, Christmas and holidays were shared. Grandchildren, Elizabeth Christy and John Raymond (J.R.) Hopkins were Ray's southern pride and joy. Ray deeply loved his children and grandchildren -- each one held a special meaning in his heart. Also surviving are beloved niece, Mary Beth Quinn, and nephew, Brian Delaney.
Ray was employed at Fort Monmouth for 42 years. Beginning as an Electronic Technician at the Army’s Signal School and retiring as a Test Equipment Logistic Management Branch Chief for the US Communication Systems Agency. He was also an expert in boat fiberglass repair, a DIY project master, and fixer of all things broken.
He and Joyce explored many places in Florida but especially enjoyed visiting Disney World and Miami Beach at the home of the Hopkins. Through last summer and fall Ray continued to fish and crab the river, with a special fondness for the “Air Force” dock area of Hartshorne Woods, and the “Old Channel” between lower and upper Rocky Points. Ray also dabbled in photography and made literally thousands of greeting cards for family and friends utilizing many of his photos. While he often displayed a “stern face” he was inwardly happy and loved life. If he could greet family members and old friends today, living and dead, he would say, “thanks for the memories.” Visitation will be held at the John E. Day Funeral Home 85 Riverside Ave., Red Bank on Monday, February 24 from 4-7 PM and a Mass at St. James Catholic Church, 894 Broad Street, Red Bank at 10 AM on Tuesday, February 25 with internment to immediately follow at Fairview Cemetery in Middletown. Flowers or donation to CPC Behavioral Healthcare (www.cpcbehavorial.org) are welcomed.
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