Cover photo for Douglas Eichorst's Obituary
Douglas Eichorst Profile Photo
1938 Douglas 2024

Douglas Eichorst

March 3, 1938 — May 22, 2024

Douglas W. Eichorst, 86, received his heavenly wings on May 22, 2024. Doug was born in South Bend, IN to Sherman and Shirley Eichorst on March 3, 1938.

Visitation will be from 5-7 pm on Wednesday, May 29 at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, followed by a Rosary service at 7:00 pm. Funeral mass will be held at 10:00 am on Thursday, May 30 at Holy Family Catholic Church. Graveside services will be 10:00 am on Friday, May 31 at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Abilene.

He graduated from John Adams High School in 1956 then attended Ball State Teacher’s College on an academic scholarship which gave him the opportunity to play varsity football earning Little All-American honors. He pledged Theta Chi which he eventually became the fraternity president. An honor student in Blue Key he was recognized in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. Doug met his Theta Chi Dream Girl, Judie, a Pi Phi, while in college. Upon graduation in 1960 he was commissioned in the Air Force through ROTC and selected for undergraduate pilot training at Williams AFB, AZ.

 His Air Force career culminated 22 years achieving the rank of Lt Col with over 6,000 hours as a command pilot in the C-130. Early in his career he served in Vietnam flying air rescue missions as the command and control aircraft. One particular mission he saved a fellow downed pilot stationed at his base and earned free drinks from him at the club after landing. While at Lajes Airfield, Azores he was one of a few select aviators to provide support to the Apollo space missions as the alternate capsule landing site in the Atlantic Ocean. He later attended Squadron Officer School at Maxwell, AFB where he earned Distinguished Graduate honors and an invitation to come back and serve on the faculty.  He continued his career “flying a desk” at Mobility Air Command headquarters in Scott AFB, IL, then finally at Dyess AFB where he got to fly again while he served as the Deputy Operations Group Commander and Resource Manager retiring with a distinguished career in 1983.

 Throughout his life he was always athletic and found his real passion in running before running was cool.  He was a member of St Louis Track Club in the 70s, ran several marathons and qualified for the premiere marathon in the country, the Boston Marathon. At age 39 he ran a sub three-hour race, in Boston, impressive by any standard! He continued his active lifestyle post running career mostly swimming and also bike riding.  He competed with sons Doug and Chris on team E3  where he led off with the swimming leg awhile Doug II ran and Chris rode. He also lived life to the fullest as an avid lifelong sportsman as a fisherman and hunter.

 After the Air Force he got a real job as a Financial Advisor with USPA & IRA which was founded to assist military families preparing for life after military service.   Always serving others he later became the Executive Director for the Food Bank of West Central Texas (Abilene) providing meals to those in need and continued to serve on the board after retiring for good.  As a person of tremendous faith  he found his retired life busier than holding a job by volunteering in many capacities: active leader at Sacred Heart Catholic Church serving as Parish Council President, and later at Holy Family Catholic Church as a parish council member and finance committee member, board member of St Vincent DePaul, Rotarian, Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentor and tutor; a lunch-buddy to one boy from grade school to high school, the longest ever relationship in the program. Always selfless his compassion provided real change to others by sponsoring several African refugee families moving to and settling in Abilene through the International Rescue Committee. In 2014 Doug and Judie were awarded Mentors of the Year by the committee.

 Doug had the biggest heart and truly led a life always putting other needs before his own.  As a devout Catholic, nothing is more important to Doug than his family and instilling and living Christian values.   He lived those values every minute of his life.  He was ever-present at every swim meet, game or activity that his children participated in. His love and dedication his family always knew was shared with the community as the Eichorst Family was recognized as the Abilene Family of The Year for 1987. As he became a grandfather and eventually a great grandfather, Papa would go out of his way to be a big part of every grandchild’s life from first communions, to birthdays to any sports his grandkids played.  Doug is survived by his wife, Judie, his three children and their families, Julie (David), Douglas II (Karen) and Chris (Adina) as well as nine grandchildren:  Cameron (Evan), Taylor (McKenzie), Parker (Elise), Douglas III (Tracy), Dirk, Kaelee (Tristan), Kelly (Clay fiancé), Luke and Aidan and six great grandchildren: Baker, Klair, Everett, Cason, Carter and Arthur.  

In lieu of flowers, donation in Douglas's memory may be made to Hendrick Hospice at https://www.hendrickhealth.org/services/hospice-care/give-now/  
or Food Bank of West Central Texas at https://fbwct.org/make-a-monetary-donation/  
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Douglas Eichorst, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

The Hamil Family Funeral Home

6449 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, TX 79606

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

7:00 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

The Hamil Family Funeral Home

6449 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, TX 79606

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Thursday, May 30, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

Holy Family Catholic Church

5410 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, TX 79606

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Friday, May 31, 2024

10:00 - 10:30 am (Central time)

Texas State Veterans Cemetery at Abilene

7457 W. Lake Road, Abilene, TX 79601

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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