John “Jack” Kenneth Eickhof passed away on February 20, 2020 in St. Paul at the age of 96. Jack was born on April 6, 1923 to Denora and Otto Eickhof in Crookston, Minnesota. Jack was the second child of three sons, having an older brother Ralph and younger brother Charles.
He graduated from Crookston High School and then started college at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He left college to enter the Navy during WWII and then returned to the University to graduate in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts focusing on architecture, engineering, and business.
Jack married Audrey Graupmann in 1949 and this March they would have celebrated 71 years of marriage together. They had six children. In 1962 Jack’s brother Charles and wife Barbara were killed in a plane crash. Their two sons (Robert and Paul) became part of Audrey and Jack’s family, while the two daughters (Catherine and Martha) became part of Ralph’s family allowing the children to stay close.
In business, Jack was involved with family construction including Otto J. Eickhof and Sons, Inc., Crookston Millwork, Union Ready Mix Co., Min Dak Mack Inc., and Agassiz Reality for many years. In 1969 he was awarded a prestigious certificate from the United States Army Corps of Engineers for a missile defense project in North Dakota. Jack also helped his sons John and Kurt start Construction Engineers in Grand Forks, ND while at the same time he developed the Eickhof Columbaria Lock and Niche system. There were three patents awarded for this system, and the company under the leadership of his son Paul, has the system installed both nationally and internationally.
Jack was very engaged in the activities of the city of Crookston. He belonged to the Crookston Presbyterian Church, Boy Scout troop 40, Elks, Masonic Order, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Lions Club, and Minakwa Country Club. He served on the board for the Crookston First National Bank and Crookston Bethesda Hospital. The Key to the city of Crookston was awarded to Jack in 2015 for contributing to the funding of the Splash Park.
Jack and Audrey loved to host fun gatherings for their friends. They helped organized the Crookston Town and Country Dance Club during their early years in Crookston. They also formed the Union Lake Volleyball Club that met every Tuesday throughout the summer for a game or two of volleyball followed by a dinner gathering.
Jack is preceded in death by his parents Otto and Denora, his two brothers Ralph (2017) and Charles (1962), and his daughter Gretchen (1978).
He is survived by his wife Audrey and his children; Jo Dell (Mark) Brekken of Apple Valley, Le Anne Eickhof (Doug Heinzen) of North Oaks, Robert Eickhof of Seattle, Washington, Paul (Cecelia) Eickhof of Crookston, Minnesota, John (Kristi) Eickhof of Marco Island, Florida, Kurt (Joyce Hagen) of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Heidi (Tim) Wills of Huntington Beach, California. He is also survived by twelve grandchildren; Andrew (Jen) Brekken, Ben Brekken, Jessica Jakubic, Charles Eickhof, Lauren (Andrew) Syrup, Eric (Alli) Eickhof, Jack Knut Eickhof, Kale Eickhof, Hadley Eickhof, Barret Eickhof, Adam Wills, Tanner Wills and four great grandchildren (Gavin Brekken, Jax Jakubic, Declan Syrup, and Tony Brekken).
A Celebration of Life will be held for Jack on March 21, 2020 at 2:00 at Waverly Gardens, 5919 Centerville Road, North Oaks, MN with a visitation one hour before. A separate inurnment will be held at a later date at the Crookston Presbyterian Church.
As a tribute to Jack, memorials are preferred to the Crookston Presbyterian Church, 510 N. Broadway, Crookston, MN. 56716 or the University of Minnesota Foundation, P.O. Box 860266, Mpls., MN. 55486-0266.