July 8, 1928 – January 2, 2018
Long-time resident, Eckart Lemberg, of Boulder, Colorado, passed away very peacefully in his home on January 2nd, 2018, of natural causes in old age. He lived a very full and active life in his 89 years. He was at home with his family who had all been faithful caregivers of him for the last five years.
It was New Year’s Day. Eckart was surrounded by his four children, their mother, and two grandchildren. His grandson, Sean, and granddaughter, Sara, both in their twenties, sat on either side of him and held his hands. Sara, Bruce and Cheryl found ways to make him, and all of us, smile and laugh. When he smiled, his whole face lit up and his eyes twinkled. Though he lost the energy to speak, his eyes connected so tenderly, and so gracefully with each member of the family, before sliding into sleep for that night and the whole next day.
Between 10:20 pm the following night, he opened his eyes for the first time that day, and stared straight into his daughter’s eyes, and formed an “O” with his mouth, as if trying to speak, but was unable to do so. His daughter said, “Dad, I love you so much. We all do. Dad, if Jesus is telling you that it’s time to go, you go with Him. He will take you through a tunnel of light. You don’t need to be afraid. You will experience waves of His love flowing from Him. You will receive a new body that will be able to climb and scale the mountains and run like you’ve never run before with great exhilaration. Don’t worry about us. We will be fine. God will take care of us… Two minutes later, at about 10:27 pm, Eckart breathed a last short breath. It was a very sacred moment.
Eckart was born in Breslau, Silesia, Germany (present-day, Wroclaw, Poland) on July 8th, 1928 to Walter and Erica Lemberg. They immigrated to Sydney, Australia in March 1939 during the Holocaust. Eckart graduated from North Sydney Boy’s High School, and was on the Swim Team while there. He then attended Sydney University and graduated in 1950, with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He married his wife, Wendy Marion (Hembrow) on March 6th, 1954. They honeymooned in Europe driving an old vintage London taxi cab before moving to England where their oldest son, Greg was eventually born, Four years later the family moved to Canada, and finally to the United States where a daughter, Catherine, and two more sons, Bruce and Christopher, were born.
From the years 1954-1974, Eckart was a senior test, design, or research engineer at Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in Australia, Bristol Airplane Company in England, Avro Aircraft in Canada, Stanley Aviation in Denver, Colorado, and Ball Brothers in Boulder, Colorado. He participated in designing test systems and optical instruments for the space program, and other research and structures development. Two particular projects included designing two NASA experiments on Skylab, the first space station, and the Mars Microbe Detector.
When the Aerospace industry was struggling, he used his mechanical engineering skills at Hauser Labs to run structural tests, and was a Senior Design Engineer at Pure Cycle, before landing a job in 1981 at Martin Marietta/Lockheed Martin where he was a staff engineer in the design of spacecraft, robotics and optical flight systems. He remained at Lockheed Martin until 1998 when he retired at age 70.
Eckart had many varied interests. He was a certified glider pilot. He was an avid skier, both downhill and cross country, and participated on a Search and Rescue Team in Australia as well as spending 14 years as a ski patrolman at A-Basin in Colorado. He served as a First Aid Instructor and a member of the Red Cross Disaster Team. Eckart took up scuba diving and underwater photography. While at home, he loved gardening, classical music, polka dancing, and spending time with his four children. In his later years, spiritual life and church based activities became more important to him.
At 47 years of age, Eckart started running. He participated in the early Cancer Jog-a-thons, ran in over 25 Bolder Boulders starting in 1979, and was part of the Boulder Road Runners, running the Colorado Mountain Race Circuit numbers of times which included: Quray to Telluride, Imogene Pass, Vail Hill Climb, Kendall Mtn. Run, Evergreen Town Race, Pike’s Peak Ascent Marathon, Estes Alpine Classics, and Winter Park Series. He also ran in the Boulder Memorial and Aspen Half Marathons as well as the Mt. Evan’s Trophy Run, and local races in Boulder.
These were in preparation for running the World’s Highest Marathon, The Everest Marathon, which he did three separate times as the oldest runner, in 1989 (age 61), 1993 (age 65), and 1997 (age 69).The runners had to first hike 120 miles from Kathmandu to the original Everest Base Camp (17,000 feet) to acclimatize, then prepared to run a 26.2 mile marathon, over rough mountain trails, after being a week at altitude.
Following the marathons, he would hold slide and 8mm film shows to raise money for the Namche Bazaar Dental Clinic, the only dental care facility in the Khumbu region of the Himalayas. He fell in love with the Nepalese people. Five years later, Eckart and his son, Chris, would go on a trekking expedition to Nepal to watch the Everest Marathon. Between 17,000-18,000 feet, Chris got serious pulmonary edema which led to a major rescue effort to get him off the mountain. Many miraculous things had to happen, at the right time, and in fact did happen, in order for Chris to survive. These occurrences propelled Eckart’s faith and trust in God to a new level.
When Eckart’s knees gave considerable problems, he had to stop running and start retraining his muscles from different angles through mountain biking, swimming, and stretching. He saved his legs, and after time was able to start hiking. He would hike daily, and weekly would climb up to Bear Peak in Boulder. When he was 80 years old, he and his daughter, Catherine, climbed Long’s Peak and made it to the Keyhole. The weather started deteriorating, and they had to turn back. Months later, he joined the family of Lygon Stevens, in the search effort of finding her body, when she disappeared in an avalanche, on Little Bear Peak in Southern Colorado, in January of 2008. This event significantly affected his life as did the incredible faith this young woman possessed, and the amazing legacy she left behind.
Eckart is survived by Wendy Houser, the children’s mother, and their three sons: Gregory and Bruce both of Boulder, Colorado; Christopher of Lakewood, Colorado, and his daughter, Catherine, of Loveland, Colorado; his grandson Sean and his granddaughter Sara. He is also survived by two nephews and a niece: Norman, Gordon, and Allison of Sydney, Australia, and three first cousins: Roswitha Schmitt of Germany, Viola Groebner of Belgium, and Hans Jurgen Groebner of Munich, Germany. Those who preceded him in death were his parents, Walter and Erica; his uncle and aunt, Rudi and Hannah; his sister, Helga Wilsmore; younger brother, Gert and a baby brother, Hartmond, all of Sydney, Australia.
A Memorial Service will be held Friday, February 16th, 2018 at 10 am at Flatiron’s Community Church, 355 W. South Boulder Road in Lafayette, Colorado, with a reception following the service. Donations can be made to the American Himalayan Foundation.