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PHP: 7.3.33 (Linux)

We have lost our brother, Howard Eskridge.

Posted by:
Harold Schrage (Doc) (Doc)
Monday January 09, 2017 12:37 pm

Howard D. Eskridge (K9GYI), 71, passed away peacefully in his country home near Tuscola, IL on Friday, December 9, 2016 surrounded by family and his favorite furry friend, Miss Sadie Schnauzer.

Howard was born May 15, 1945 in Decatur, IL, the son of Homer and Grace (Howell) Eskridge. He married Kathryn (Meyer) in 1979. On June 29, 1986, he married Judy (Blain) Henderson in Arcola, IL. She survives.

Also surviving are his daughters, Kendra Chriss of Gibson City and Jodi Samsa of Chicago, along with granddaughters, Elise Chriss and Ava Samsa. Howard is also survived by his sister, Judy Day of Tampa, FL and several nieces and nephews.

He received a BS in Business from Milliken University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Governor’s State.

Howard lived his boyhood dream of wanting to be a firefighter by spending 30 years as a firefighter instructor at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute. In 1973, the Institute was tasked to develop a standardized certified program for fire departments. His work along with others lead to many programs, including basic, standard and advanced level firefighter certification. As a state training instructor, his influence and expertise was often called on to assist fire departments with incidents or designing other training programs. There is no doubt that Howard has saved many lives through his teaching. At the age of 21, he was the youngest paid Fire Chief (Hammond, IL) in the State of Illinois.

Following his retirement from the Fire Institute, he worked part time for Ruhl’s Forensics and Depke Welding-making many new friends along the way. Howard was a unique individual who never knew a stranger.

He was in the US Navy Construction Battalions (SEABEES, MCB3) from 1967 – 1969. Howard proudly wore his Viet Nam Navy Veteran’s hat and always enjoyed interacting with other veterans. His patriotism was an important part of his life. He helped lay to rest many service members.

Howard had many hobbies and talents. He taught himself to weld and keep farm machinery running. His favorite past time was communicating with people all over the world as an amateur radio operator (K9GYI) from his Chicken Bristle Radio Shack. Other talents included public speaking and writing poetry. His greatest joy was living in the country where he could mow, trim and work in his shop. He was a member of the Arcola United Methodist Church, where he once served as lay leader along with narrating choir cantatas for many years. He was also a member of the American Radio Relay League and Arcola VFW Post #7680.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Arcola United Methodist Church, Arcola Fire Department or Arcola Foundation-Allen Roberts Memorial. Howard’s family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Carle Hospital and Carle Hospice for the excellent care and compassion shown to their loved one during his illness.

For further information and to send online condolences please visit


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