Butch Eckstein went through life like he drove his Corvette, full tilt, taking a wrong turn now and then, side-swiping a few potholes and blaring Country music. He got himself lost on occasion but would never admit it or ask for directions. If given a choice, Butch would rather have come to a screeching halt with his tires still burning rubber, but God sent him on a more prolonged exit ramp. This detour gave him precious time to share memories and say his goodbyes. Those moments will be cherished by his family and closest friends. He coasted to his final stop on Thursday, June 25, 2020. He was 72 years old.
His journey began on September 17, 1947 in Oshkosh. Butch was raised in Oshkosh and made many lifelong friends here. After graduating from high school, he joined the Air Force, proudly serving for 13 years. While Butch travelled the world, he always called Oshkosh home. Butch settled back in Oshkosh after he finished his time in the Air Force. Butch then spent some time behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and travelled the entire U.S. He then worked at the Post Office, where he retired in 2006. Butch was probably most known for owning and operating the Back Again Stadium Bar for over 30 years. He heartily shared his infamous stories and words of wisdom on both sides of the bar to any willing or unwilling listener. Some are still recovering.
Butch loved to be surrounded by friends and family and would often initiate motorcycle trips fully decked in his Harley attire, the standard Butch dress code. Destinations were irrelevant, sometimes short jaunts would do, but he relished the long hauls to Sturgis or Florida as well. He’d always manage to make his rounds to various restaurants and taverns, try his luck on the gambling machines, go fishing if he could dupe someone into taking him, take excursions to casinos or just sit at the Stadium and talk to his customers. He particularly loved going on Ratch’s bus to attend Packer games.
Although Butch tried to give the impression that he was as tough as nails through his colorful language and hard-shell demeanor, those who knew him best recognized his caring and sensitive heart. He sponsored fundraisers and donated his time and money to various causes including the United Veterans Honor Guard and other Veteran organizations. He was a lifelong member of the Disabled American Vets, the Marine Corps League and the Vietnam Veterans of America. He believed in the constitutional rights of the individuals he fought to protect, and he sponsored countless events to raise money for the less fortunate, a testimony of his gratefulness.
Butch was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Lois (Siewart) Eckstein; three brothers, Dale, Harlan and Marshall; and his grandson Maddex Eckstein. He is survived by his children, Lenny (Trudy) Eckstein and Kelly (John) McHugh; stepchildren, Phil, Mark, Sara and Mitch; grandchildren, Lainey and Paige, Jennifer, John and Alyssa; brother Wally Eckstein; and sisters, Sue (Bill) Bernier and Marcy (Jeff) Berger; many nieces and nephews; special friend Deb Folske; and his three ex-wives, Carol, Linda and Jessie, all still considered friends.
In lieu of flowers, Butch requested that donations be made to: Maddex Eckstein Kind Heart Scholarship Fund Oshkosh Area Community Foundation 230 Ohio St, Suite 100 Oshkosh, WI 54902
The family would like to thank Dr. Sahajpal and his team at St. Luke’s in Milwaukee; Dr. Bos and his team at Aurora Oshkosh; Hospice of Aurora; Mary, Brittney, KaBao, and Dr. Dar for all their support and care for Butch. He had a special relationship with each of them.
In true Butch Eckstein fashion, a party will be held rather than a funeral service. The party will be on Saturday, July 11th at Back Again Stadium Bar. Throughout his illness, Butch continued to show his strength and determination, never complaining even in the most challenging circumstances. Even though Butch may have taken a different highway, he knew he was a forgiven child of God and shared his hope of seeing those who were already waiting for him in heaven. He was ready to jump start the next road trip but was looking forward to a better driver at the wheel this time. Butch would want you to remember, “Don’t fear dying, fear not living. Let’s ride!” (Harley Davidson quote)