Charles Franklin Eck Jr.
Charles Franklin Eck Jr. (Baltimore Sun)

Charles F. Eck Jr., former president of American Lubrication Equipment Co. who remained chairman of the company's board until his death, died Saturday at his Butler home of kidney cancer. He was 79.

The son of Charles Franklin Eck, founder of the American Lubrication Equipment Co. in 1918, and Viola Bryant Eck, Charles Franklin Eck Jr. was born in Baltimore. He was raised on the family's Good Fellowship Farm on Cromwell Bridge Road in Parkville, which is now part of Cromwell Valley Park.


While a student at Gilman School, Mr. Eck was a varsity wrestler, and after graduating in 1953, continued wrestling at Lehigh University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1958.

After serving in the Army for a year, he went to work for American Lubrication Equipment Co. in 1959. He was named president of the business in 1980. The company grew into a national distributor of industrial equipment, with offices in Hunt Valley and Anaheim, Calif.

"He was among the first in his industry to diversify his base with ventures in China, Italy, Turkey and the United Kingdom," said a son, Eben Caldwell Eck of Hydes, who succeeded his father as president of the company in May.

"He was known for his keen business sense, his absolute integrity, and his firm adherence to practicing the Aloha spirit, which grew in him from the first time he visited the Hawaiian Islands in 1953," his son said.

Since retiring in May 2015, Mr. Eck remained as chairman of the board of American Lubrication Equipment Co.

A resident of Butler since 1995, Mr. Eck was a former member of the board of Green Mount Cemetery. He had been a member of the board of Central Bank and its successor, North Carolina National Bank.

Mr. Eck's philanthropic interests included Paul's Place, the Walters Art Museum, Lehigh University and St. John's Episcopal Church in Butler, where he was a longtime communicant.

An avid golfer, he was a member of the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club, Chevy Chase Club and the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.

A world traveler, Mr. Eck enjoyed bringing back such items as woodcarvings from the South Pacific and artwork. He also liked collecting wines.

Plans for a Sept. 26 memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to his son, Mr. Eck is survived by his wife of 20 years, the former Bailey Urban Morris; another son, Charles Franklin Eck III of Owings Mills; a stepson, Giles Morris of Charlottesville, Va.; a stepdaughter, Caroline Morris of Austin, Texas; a sister, Susanne Higinbothom of Towson; and five grandchildren. An earlier marriage to the former Martha "Tinker" Howell ended in divorce.