John is one of Manchester's most colorful (offbeat?) grads, as writers generally tend to be. Many locals remember his tenure as Managing Editor and straight-shooting columnist at The Signal News. But John's life and career have gone far beyond those days ruffling feathers in Canal Fulton - which we'll let him recap for you.in typical Eckberg-style:
The Wife & Kids & Cincy:
I've been married to Carol for 26 years, and we have two children, Matt, a sophomore in architecture at the University of Cincinnati, and Rachel, a junior at Turpin High School in a suburb just east of Cincinnati, where we've lived for 14 years after moving from Clifton, a neighborhood near UC.
Education after MHS:
Attended The University of Akron for two years and can still be spotted in and around Cincinnati wearing updated and old school UA baseball-style cap. One has a very happy kangaroo dancing around on it. The other hat has a kangaroo profile. The kangaroo looks annoyed.
Later, hopped on down to Athens and got a B.A. Degree in English from Ohio University.
It all began at The (Canal Fulton) Signal News.where we covered you like the early morning dew for about four years; then it was on to the Cincinnati Enquirer, where I was a Metro reporter for a real long time and covered crime, courts and public policy. Today, I'm a business reporter/columnist and cover retailing, careers/workplace and two Fortune 500 companies - Kroger and Federated, owner of Macy's Department Store chain. Ask me about fully diluted shares and forward p/e's if you need to doze off.although I really have no idea what I'm doing and don't know a net on a balance sheet from a hook-line-and-sinker. Carol teaches 4th grade at Cincinnati Public's Woodford Paideia School.
Interesting things you've done since high school:
Wrote two books: Road Dog (Federal Point Publishing), about serial killer Glen Rogers.and the newly released The Success Effect: Uncommon Conversations with America's Business Trailblazers (Sterling and Ross). More about it at thesuccesseffect.com.
About two decades ago, Carol and I blew off our savings for a down-payment and went to Europe instead. That was when I wore a younger man's clothes. Stayed for three months, traveling with backpacks. I turned to Carol 45 days into this remarkable trip from 1984 and said, "We're only halfway through our break-you get this much time off every year? This is how it feels? We still have 45 more days to go!" Obviously I made a big wrong decision by not going into teaching. We traveled by train from the Algarve in Portugal, the End of the World, to Dubrovnik in Yugoslavia. Then north to the heart of Sweden, where we rented a car and went deeper into the woods to a distant lake resort - where I caught northern pike just like my Swedish ancestors of old. While driving on deserted lost roads through the bogs looking for moose one evening, I turned on the radio.and what would be the next song played? Chrissie Hynde's I Went Back to Ohio (But My City Was Gone). I felt "Karma-lized."
Also, travel golf writing has taken me and my family far and wide. More on that at author archives at travelgolf.com. I have been blessed (and my newspaper readers are still getting fleeced.so not much has changed there from my time in Canal Fulton).
Current Hobbies / Activities:
Still love to golf, and sometimes I do better than a bogie a hole.
Favorite Manchester teachers, and why:
Mr. (Clyde) Provens, because he taught me to write by letting me write in independent English class. And librarian Mrs. (Janice) Thomas, because she really was tolerant beyond what any teacher should have to tolerate.
Favorite subject at MHS:
Least favorite subject at MHS:
Favorite memories from school:
Running into a capacity gym at Green High School from the locker room and marveling at all the people who had come to watch me play basketball. Same feeling with capacity crowd at Canton McKinley Fieldhouse. (Okay, well, they all really came to watch Mike Phillips.but I was there, too.)
Also, 7th period study hall. And chatting with Jeannie Campbell in the counselors' waiting area.
Least favorite memories from school, if any:
Hanging from the hook as a freshman during lunchtime in the gym and hoping nobody threw anything at me.
What sports, if any, did you play at MHS?
Tried to play golf and basketball
Other H.S. activities / clubs you enjoyed:
Chess Club. Talent Show night, where I performed in a tutu, much to the horror, I'm certain, of my father.
Which class reunions have you attended? Any favorite memory?
Attended our 10-Year (I think). Loved catching up with Michelle Lloyd, who did mission work in India, I believe. Awesome.
Did you have any favorite high school "hangouts?"
The end of the runway at Akron-Canton airport, where we would sneak out onto it, lay down at the end, let a jet pass over us and feel the hair stand up on your arms and head from the static electricity dumping from the wings to the ground. It crackled all around us. Then we sped out of there without getting caught.
Happy Ass Hill, of course. Drewsie's pool table. Art Cinema in Cuyahoga Falls. Loved Nimisila Reservoir.
Favorite music from your H.S. era, and current favorite:
Probably anything by Eric Burdon and the Animals (It's My Life). Newfound favorite group: Death Cab for Cuties
Favorite TV shows:
Lost, America Idol.
Biggest Pet Peeve since your graduation:
Democrats too stupid or lazy to win a statewide or national race, except, of course, one of my heroes, Dennis Kucinich - who is a visionary and the world would be a better place if he managed to become president or vice president. Run Dennis, Run!
Now 35 years after graduation, John doesn't have any family still residing in Manchester. He makes it back to the area on rare occasion, stopping en route to Cincinnati from Ellet, where his stepmother lives. You can send John a message at: email@example.com