Conductor's baton on sheet music

Richard "Ike" Eichenberger

     Eichenberger, Richard (Ike) A., 76, passed peacefully, wrapped in love, on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 due to complications from Covid-19. He was the son of the late Herbert and Agnes Eichenberger, and was preceded in death by his brother, Ronald G. Eichenberger, and by his first wife, Mary A. Eichenberger (nee Schleinat). Richard was the beloved husband of Sharon L. Carter (nee Woll); step-father to Andrew (Katy) Carter and Ryan Carter; dearest “Grandpa Ikey” to Jensen and Andersen Carter; dear son-in-law of Joanne Woll; dear brother-in-law of John (Regina) Woll, Robert (Shelley) Woll, Jim (Angi) Woll, Melanie (John) O’Hara, and Bob (Sharon) Schleinat; uncle to Michael Eichenberger and Suzi (Jason) Eichenberger-Ruth, Laura (Donald) Schisler; Tim (Jess) Schleinat and Sean O’Hara; great uncle to: Andi (Brian) Jefferis, Sarah Woll, Joseph Woll, Michael Woll, Emma Woll, Spencer Woll, Cameron Woll, Aiden Ruth, Chloe Ruth, David Schisler, Zachary Schisler, and Juliet Schisler.

     Ike, as he was affectionately known, loved growing up in South St. Louis, where he attended Woodward Grade School. At the age of thirteen, his family moved to Arnold where he graduated from Fox High School. He received degrees from Southeast Missouri State and Washington University. In the U.S. Army, Ike was
     Acting Commander of the American Division Band in Chu Lai, South Vietnam, 1968-1969; he was a music educator for more than forty years in Orchard Farm, St. Charles, and Ferguson-Florissant school districts and at Fontbonne College, Lindenwood University and Meramec Community College.

     Ike was a consummate Renaissance man: highly educated, a gentleman, cultured in the arts, and charismatic. He loved reading and hearing about the joys and accomplishments of his former students and friends. He will be remembered for his famous classroom cartwheels, as Mitch Henson’s partner in their “Blues Brothers” spoof, the annual “White Christmas” soloist with Northwinds Concert Band, and his unforgettable Hawthorne Players roles as Ben Franklin in “1776”, tipsy Uncle Willie in “High Society”, Sancho Panza in “Man of La Mancha”, and Mr.
Fezziwig in “A Christmas Carol”. Ike will also be long-remembered as a flutist, saxophonist, and vocalist with Northwinds Concert Band. He was the lead singer and an instrumentalist with Sentimental Journey Dance Band and a member of the Jameson Quartet. Ike was an actor and music director for multiple community theatre stage productions, as well as serving on the Hawthorne Players Board of Directors. During his lifetime he played and sang with church choirs, pub combos, and for numerous weddings and funerals. He was even a disc jockey on KCLC FM from 1970-1971.

     Among his many professional affiliations, Ike was President of the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association (2001-2003); Secretary (1985-1992) and then President (1992-1994) of the Missouri Choral Directors Association, and Faculty Sponsor of the Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity (2003-2006) of Lindenwood University. In 2006-2007, he received the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association Hall of Fame award. Ike had a blessed and loving life with his first wife, Mary. They worked together as a musical team. Since they had no children, they opened their hearts to their students, who then became like their own children. The dozens of tributes to him
on social media attest to the adoration and esteem in which they were held by former students and many friends.

     When he married Sharon on October 8, 2017, Ike felt especially fortunate to become a part of a “new” family which included children, grandchildren, and all the others who welcomed him as one of their own. He fit right in. In his last few years, he was happiest at his condo in Lake of the Ozarks, loving the lake, boating, and jet skiing, and generously sharing all of those blessings with friends and family.

     His other pleasures included making music everywhere, traveling with beloved friends, watching HGTV home remodeling shows, cooking, sewing, shopping (particularly for shoes), gardening, and CARS! Especially those convertible ‘Vettes, Chryslers, and Mustangs. And then his nifty red truck! But nothing could compete with what he cherished most in the word–his loving relationships with people. The man never met a stranger, and everyone will remember his contagious smile, his bear hugs, or, when needed, his tears. Time and time again, he was heard to say, “I’ve had the most wonderful life.”