Charles Vincent Eckert III

Date of Birth

September 9, 1935

Date of Death

March 24, 2022

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Native Santa Barbaran and lifelong resident, Charles Vincent Eckert III was born on September 9, 1935 at Cottage Hospital to Adelaide (Walters) and Charles V. Eckert Jr.

“Chuck” had an idyllic Santa Barbara childhood. He always excelled in school, was a Boy Scout, and loved baseball … it was not uncommon for Chuck and his younger brother Butch to seek out and play in pick up ballgames with other kids in the neighborhood, just like the movie, “Sandlot”, which was one of his favorites. Chuck attended Goleta Union School, and for a short time, Paradise School in Santa Ynez. He went on to La Cumbre Jr. High School, and Santa Barbara High School. In high school, Chuck was a fierce rival on the debate team, he was involved in student government, and active in the YMCA, where he met his first wife, Linda (Downing) whom he married in 1955.

Chuck attended UCSB at the original campus on The Riviera where he earned his BA in Political Science, graduating with highest honors. He went on to study law at UC Berkeley. In 1961 Chuck returned to Goleta and opened his law practice, as the first full time attorney in Goleta. He was also “first” to try both criminal and civil jury cases in the Goleta Justice Court. The law practice grew, and over the years Chuck took on several law partners. (Brian O’Gorman, Jim Smith, Richard Tyler, David Grokenberger and Casey Hoppell). He was very well respected among his colleagues, and was often called on to consult with some of them right up to the end. In 1989, he served as President of the American Board of Trial Advocates (Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo), Consumer Attorneys of California, the American Bar Association, the California Bar Association, and the Santa Barbara County Bar Association, he also served as an arbitrator, and served as Superior Court Judge Pro Tem.

In addition to the law, Chuck was involved in and served many local organizations, including the Elks Lodge, and the Goleta Breakfast Optimist Club.
Beginning with his first purchase of a small property in what is known as Old Town Goleta, Chuck was a very successful real estate investor. In the late 1980’s, he and his son, Charles V. Eckert IV (Chip) teamed up and created Eckert Investments, an investment and property management company, in which Chuck was active in daily operations right up until the final days of his life. He participated as Chairman, and on the Executive Committee of the Isla Vista Property Owners’ Association, and as Director of the Santa Barbara Rental Property Association. In 1981-1983, Chuck was President of the Santa Barbara Housing Council. He took special pride in Goleta, where he lived and worked for most of his life. He was Chairman for both the Committee for Greater Goleta, and Goletans for Better Government. Chucks political influence helped shape Goleta and Santa Barbara in ways that most would never know.

Chuck was also an avid bowler. He bowled with his dad, Chili, his brother, Butch and Butch’s son, Gary, and his son Chip for years. In the 1990’s, for one season, the five got to bowl together. He took pride in being one of 5 Eckert’s on the same bowling team. (Chili, Chuck, Butch, Chip, Gary.)

Chuck loved watching his children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren playing ball of some sort, (baseball, football, soccer, etc.). But he especially loved baseball! In 1982, the Goleta Valley South Little League team won the Little League World Series. Chuck took time out of his busy schedule to travel around the country with his cousins, Carolyn Stewart and Bill Oakley, watching their two sons, Bruce and Billy win a Little League World Series. Chuck got such satisfaction…such a thrill watching the youngsters in the family succeed.

In 1971 Chuck married his wife, Janet Brainerd. He and Janet celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in October, 2021. Chuck and Janet were fortunate to visit many parts of the world. They enjoyed many family vacations together along with their children and grandchildren, especially their annual trip to Bass Lake, which they were able to enjoy for a number of years, where such wonderful family memories were created. Family was important to Chuck. He took the time to cultivate very unique relationships with each one of his children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren. He counseled, encouraged and supported each one as they grew up, and beyond into adulthood. As one grandchild so aptly stated, “He’s given me advice from life experiences that no one else could. He’s told me when I need to try harder, and celebrated me when I’ve done my best.”

On March 24, 2022, after a long illness, which he fought bravely until the end, Chuck passed away at Serenity House, after saying goodbye to the many family members who loved him and who he loved so much, and after saying a final goodbye to his wife Janet, with Chuck’s daughter Heidi, and son Chip by his side, holding his hands.

Charles Vincent Eckert III is survived by: his wife, Janet; sons, Charles V. Eckert IV (Sue), Chuck Brainerd (Kate), Mike Brainerd (Tammy); Daughter, Heidi Peet (Bob);ten grandchildren: Amy, Jessica, Ben, Antonia, Charles V. “Vinny” Eckert V, Joey, Jared, Jakob, Kaitie, Glenn; fourteen great grandchildren: Brooklynn, Elijah, Uriah, Lola, Sophia, Daniel, Dominic, James, Alexander, Noah, Tullah, Mikayla, Charles V. “Charlie” Eckert VI; Brother: Butch Eckert (Mary Lou), and sisters: Scarlet Eckert, and Melody Bowles (Jim).

We are blessed by the extraordinary legacy of unconditional love, honesty, integrity and hard work, which he left us.

A Celebration of Chuck’s life will be held on May 18, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. at Glenn Annie Golf Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Goleta Valley Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts Los Padres Council, and the Goleta Valley Historical Society.


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