Jeff Eckhardt

(we just received notification that Jeff Eckardt died on Nov. 13, 2020.  Below is the obituary submitted by his family)

Jeffrey John Eckardt, M.D. was born in Staten Island, New York to Margaret Bennett Hoover Eckardt and Jack Archer Eckardt. He grew up in Fanwood, New Jersey until 1950 when he moved to Buffalo, New York where he went to the Harlem Road #18 Elementary School. In the middle of his 7th grade year in January 1958, just as the Sputnik space satellite was launched, he moved to Scarsdale, New York for his junior and senior years of high school. He graduated from the Edgemont High School in 1963, receiving the Bausch & Lomb Science Award. He matriculated to Williams College and graduated cum laude in Biology in 1967. His passion for medicine brought him to Cornell University Medical School, where he earned his M.D. in 1971, followed by a medical internship at the New York Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital from 1971-1972.

In July 1972, as part of the Berry Plan, he began his military service with the United States Navy, which he always considered to be a privileged experience. He commissioned as a Navy Flight Surgeon and completed two deployments to the Western Pacific in 1973 and 1974 with Carrier Air Wing Nine onboard the attack aircraft carrier USS Constellation. He recorded in excess of 30 carrier catapult launches and successful recoveries in the tactical jet aircraft of the day. He was always proud of his military service, and especially grateful for the lifelong friends he made during that time.

Following three years of active duty service with the Navy, he entered the UCLA Orthopaedic Surgery Residency program in 1975. Dr. Eckardt completed his residency in 1979, succeeded by a year at the Mayo Clinic as an Orthopaedic Oncology Fellow. In July 1980, he joined the Orthopaedic Surgery Department at UCLA where he specialized in the management of bone and soft tissue tumors. He became a national and international expert in the design and implantation of large metal endoprostheses used in limb sparing procedures for patients with malignant tumors of the extremities. He was named the Helga and Walter Oppenheimer Professor and Chair of Musculoskeletal Oncology in July 2001. Among his many awards, he was most proud of receiving the Dr. Sherman Melinkoff Faculty Award given annually at the UCLA Medical School Graduation “To the faculty member whose teaching exemplifies his dedication to the art of medicine and to the finest in doctor-patient relationships.” In June 2010, he was appointed Interim Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, and then in April 2011 he was named Professor and Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCLA, which he held until April 2017. On July 1, 2015 he was promoted to the academic rank of Professor, Above Scale and designated a Distinguished Professor. In 2019, the Jeffrey J. Eckardt Endowed Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery was established to help talented faculty pursue their clinical and research endeavors. He retired from UCLA on June 28, 2019 after 39 years of faculty service. In spite of his considerable research and clinical accomplishments, he always believed that his most important legacy was his family and children.

Dr. Eckardt was preceded in death by his parents Jack and Margaret Eckardt. He is survived by his wife, Mary Frances Eckardt of 36 years, and his children: Jennie Margaret Eckardt of California; LCDR David Paul Eckardt, USN, his wife Hillary Eckardt, and their children Grayson and Kennedy of Virginia; and Mark Archer Eckardt, M.D. of Connecticut. He is also survived by his sister, Susan Eckardt Bradley, her husband John Bradley of New Hampshire, and their children: Christine Margaret Bradley Pratt, her husband David Pratt, and their children David and William of Texas; and Jeffrey John Bradley, his wife Emily Bradley, and their children Grace and Luke of New Hampshire. A private memorial service with full military honors will be held at a later date. Details will be disseminated separately.

As a final act of service and patient care, Dr. Eckardt requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Jeffrey J. Eckardt, M.D. Memorial Fund established by the Gary Sinise Foundation. Donations accrued in the Memorial Fund will be utilized to aid critically wounded veterans and their families.

Please visit the Fund’s website for more information:

Donations by check can be made to:
Gary Sinise Foundation ATTN: Development
P.O. Box 368
Woodland Hills, CA 91365
Please include “In Honor of Dr. Jeffrey J. Eckardt” in the Memo line.

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2 Responses to Jeff Eckhardt

  1. Gove Effinger says:

    Jeff and I were roommates both freshman year (Williams D with Chris Beam) and sophomore year (Fayerweather with Rich Gehrman) and good friends, though we seemed to drift different directions thereafter. He was honest, open, fun-loving (rugby, beer!) and very serious about his pre-med studies (I was able to help him along in the required and dreaded calculus). He never missed breakfast, though he hated to get up for it, because “My dad has paid for it!” Very nice person to have known for a short time.

  2. Peter Banks says:

    Jeff and I were together at Mayo Clinic in his year of fellowship there, when I was in my third year on the faculty. The difference in our medical career progression was, of course, related to his years in the Navy. As a surgical pathologist, I often caught up with Jeff in the lab, as orthopedic oncology is heavily involved in both radiology and pathology for diagnosis. He was great company, and at the time we were both going through some family problems and gave one another support. Getting back to UCLA was foremost on his mind, and there was little doubt that he would achieve a promethean career upon his return. And he did.

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