Hoyt Ecker died on October 5 at the age of 91. The cause was a massive stroke. His wife, Deborah Stark Ecker and their daughters Emily Sears Ecker and Ellen Ecker Ogden were with him at his death.
Mr. Ecker was known for his pleasure in traditional jazz, tennis, skiing, sailing, his home and family and his optimism about all he undertook. He was born in 1926, the second of four sons of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Ecker of Greenwich, Conn. and New York City.
Mr. Ecker grew up in New York where from an early age he developed his broad knowledge of Dixie Land music through performances of jazz musicians who had migrated to the city from New Orleans and Chicago. After his graduation from The Millbrook School, Millbrook, N.Y., he enrolled at Harvard but soon left for the Navy. Assigned to an electronics training unit in Chicago, he participated in the founding of the Hot Club of Chicago, putting on Sunday afternoon sessions with performers who became well-known jazz musicians. His Navy assignment in Washington D.C. was construction of decoding devices.
Immediately after Mr. Ecker's graduation from Harvard in 1949, he married Mrs. Ecker. They embarked on a year-long tour of Great Britain, Scandinavia, Western Europe and North Africa. Their first home was in Minneapolis, Minnesota where Mr. Ecker worked as a production coordinator at Minneapolis Honeywell. Five years later, to prepare for owning his own business, he enrolled in the Harvard Business School, graduating in 1956.
Mr. Ecker's business career was in the development of new products. He formed TechVen Associates, an investment group which backed start-up businesses, helping them to reach the stage where they qualified for bank loans or issuing stock. Mr. Ecker took pride in the fact that none of the businesses were associated with the military. They included an auto-pilot for aircraft, a Maine shrimp-packer and finally a portable computer. The computer, manufactured by Computer Devices, Inc., was the first of its kind and included a printer. He served as CDI's President and Board Chairman. Crossing the stage of the 1983 Electronics Show in Palo Alto, balancing the computer on his shoulder, was a landmark event that launched laptops.
During Mr. Ecker's retirement years he oversaw construction of a house near their home in Chatham and cruised his Finland-built sailboat from Down East to and around southern Florida. At his home in Vero Beach, Florida he was a member of the Bayou West Condominium Association's Board of Directors.
Mr. Ecker was a founder of the Massachusetts Committee for the Preservation of Horse Shoe Crabs and a member of its Board of Directors. The Committee was instrumental in causing the Wildlife Refuge on Monomoy Island to be a horseshoe crab sanctuary, followed by the National Seashore.
Mr. Ecker's immediate family, his three brothers' and cousins' extended families appreciate the time and care he gave, as a trustee, to the oversight and maintenance of the Stage Harbor Lighthouse. The lighthouse was purchased in the mid-1930s by his mother and her two brothers.
Mr. Ecker's residences have been in Weston and Chatham, winters in Vero Beach, Florida and most recently Newbury Court, Concord. His brothers predeceased him. Besides his wife of 68 years and their daughters, he is survived by his son Samuel Hoyt Ecker, their son-in-law Marcel Polak (Bryant Pond, Maine), their daughter-in-law Shelley Ecker (Avon, Colorado), their grand children Rachel Silver, Molly Ogden Schuster, Samuel Shepherd Ogden, Andrew Knight Ecker, Alaina Nicole Ecker and two great- grandchildren.
The memorial service will be announced at a later date.
Contributions in memory of Mr. Ecker may be sent to Everytown for Gun Safety, P.O. Box 3886, New York, NY, 10163.