The fire service and Slingerlands Fire Department mourn the loss of a great influence and mentor to the fire community. Walter ‘Bill’ Eck, Jr., passed away suddenly. Chief Eck had worked for the Navy at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory for 35 years as a fire protection engineer as well as being a past Captain of their firematic unit. Chief Eck’s greatest joys were his family, helping others and the fire service. He had a warm and generous heart and always made people feel special. He was never without a kind work or a treat in his pocket. He lived by the motto, “Deeds not words.”

Chief Eck was a devoted member of the Slingerlands Fire Department for 44 years, serving as the past-Chief, current President, and current Chairman of the Slingerlands Fire District Board of Commissioners. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the FASNY Firemen’s Home and Second Vice-President of the Hudson Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association. He was also the past-President of the Royal Order of the Blue Vests, past-President of the Hudson Mohawk Volunteer Fire Association, past-President of the Night Hawks and past-President of the Albany County Volunteer Fire Association.

The Chief was a 9/11 first responder, of which his family was immensely proud. He was the current Chairman of the Albany County Advisory Board and Secretary of the Albany County Volunteer Fire Association Burn Fund. Hundreds of firefighters and departments from New York City and throughout the Capital Region stood for hours and fell into line to pay their respects to a devoted firefighter, mentor, father and friend.       

– Fire News photos by Lori Washburn and Tom Heffernan