James Franklin Eckroade, 94, after Merchant Marines, had long career with B&O/CSX Railroad

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James Franklin “Jimmy” Eckroade, 94, of Virginia Beach, Va., passed away July 31, 2016, at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

Born in March 1922 to James Edward and Alvina Eckroade, Jimmy spent an idyllic childhood as a barefooted kid swimming, fishing and hiding watermelons in the local creeks around Lansford, Pa. He also lived in Miami, Fla.

Following high school graduation, Jimmy joined the U.S. Merchant Marines and was deployed to Russia and the North Sea. In New York City, at the Copa Cabana Club, he met Eleanor Jean Zaremba, the girl who was to become the love of his life and best friend for the next 65 years.  They were married in November 1945.

Jimmy worked for the B&O/CSX Railroad for 38 years, which resulted in moving his family from New York to Delaware, Ohio, Michigan and Maryland, while he lived out of suitcases as he traveled to small freight stations from Wheeling, W.V., to Traverse City, Mich. He retired in 1983 and re-located to Virginia Beach, Va.

Jimmy was an active member of Bayside Presbyterian Church and volunteered at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital after Eleanor’s death in 2010. In his free time Jimmy pursued his interest in politics by watching C-Span. He was an avid sports fan and followed the Baltimore Orioles and Duke Blue Devils religiously. Most of all, Jimmy loved people. His greatest pleasure came from spending time with friends and family the world over, telling funny stories and bad jokes.

Jimmy is survived by three children, Deidra Hellwig, James Eckroade and Virginia Eckroade; and a grandson, Andrew Eckroade.

Special thanks to CharRhonda Hill, Carol Dale and Daisy Van Gent for their loving care during Jimmy’s illness.

The family will receive friends from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home,  1457 Independence Blvd., Virginia Beach, Va. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, in the funeral home chapel.

Jimmy will be laid to rest privately with his wife at Princess Anne Memorial Park.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com.