Kevin Day Eckley passed away suddenly at his home on Monday, November 7, 2022, at the age of 61 following an ALS diagnosis over two years ago. He was born April 13, 1961, the son of the late Sandra L Clark and the late Joseph G Eckley in Mexico, Missouri. On October 23, 1999, he was united in marriage to Kimberly K. Lindsey in Oklahoma City where they made their home and raised their three sons.
Kevin was raised in Centralia, MO where he graduated from Centralia High School in 1979. He continued his education at the University of Missouri’s School of Business and Public Administration and received his bachelor’s degree in 1987. While attending Mizzou, he was also a member of the United States Air Force (USAF) Reserve Officer Training Corps and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation.
After his commissioning, he entered active duty and attended USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training at Williams Air Force Base (AFB) in Mesa, Arizona. He was awarded the aeronautical rating of pilot and had his silver wings pinned on in April 1989. He was then stationed at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he flew the E-3A Sentry, also known as the AWACS. After completing initial qualification training in the E-3, Kevin’s first operational mission was in Operation Just Cause in Panama in December of 1989. Less than a year later, August of 1990, Kevin deployed to Saudi Arabia as an integral part of Operation Desert Shield and flew combat missions in Operation Desert Storm. While serving in the AWACS, Kevin had been an aircraft commander as well as a standardization and evaluation flight examiner.
Following his successful and decorated Air Force service, Kevin was honorably discharged as a Captain in 1996 and started the next phase of his career flying cargo worldwide with Gemini Air Cargo. In early 2000, Kevin began a long career with Delta Airlines flying various aircraft and traveling all over the United States, South America, and Europe until he was medically retired.
Kevin was a devoted and loving father and husband. When he wasn’t flying, Kevin could be found with his family vacationing, spending quality time watching movies or football games, or attending the boys’ activities and music performances. Kevin also enjoyed working on multiple DIY projects around the house, customizing his Corvette, and sharing his knowledge with his sons.
Kevin was preceded in death by his mother, Sandra Lee (Mortimer) Clark, his father Joseph G Eckley, and grandparents Henry and Evelyn Mortimer, Leonard and Pearl Eckley, and Oran and Arloa Clark.
In addition to his wife Kim of 23 years, he will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by his sons, Devon Eckley, and twins Dillon Eckley and Dustin Eckley; his step-father, Daren Allen Clark of Leeds AL; his brothers, Randy Eckley and his wife Kay of Ashland MO and Shawn Eckley and his wife Cheryl of Hendersonville TN; his sisters Joni Henry and her husband Tim and Christi Gilbertson and her husband Brian of Centralia MO; as well as Glenn and Judy Lindsey, Sherri and Bryce Fair, and Lori and Brian Fagan of Oklahoma City OK; and many nieces and nephews, other relatives, and dear friends.
Memorial service will be 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 15, 2022, in the Vondel Smith Mortuary North Chapel, 13125 N. MacArthur Blvd. Private family inurnment will be in Resurrection Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association, P.O. Box 37022, Boone, IA 50037-0022 or www.als.org