March 24, 1961 – April 22, 2023
James Thomas Eckenrode, 62, of Dinwiddie, Virginia, peacefully entered the arms of the Lord Saturday morning, April 22, 2023. James, also known as Tom or Jim, was born on March 24, 1961 in Rapid City, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota.
James is survived by his two children, James Perry Eckenrode (Laura), and Natalie Hall (Marcus); his wife, Suzanne Eckenrode; the mother of his children, Elke Eckenrode; and his three grandchildren, Hunter, Lindsay, and Colt. He is also survived by his three sisters, JoAnne Frisby (Ken), Connie Ososkie (Kevin), and Jackie Perry (Gary); two brothers, JR Townley and Chris Allen Townley; five nieces, five nephews, several great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Sara Jo Eckenrode; father, Virgil Lee Townley, Sr.; grandparents, James Howard and Georgette Eckenrode, Lucian and Jewel Townley, and Carlos and Sara Martinez De Lo Santos.
Jim left home at 18 years old to join the United States Army and became part of the Military Police. After 13 years of service, reaching the rank of detective, he decided to pursue a career in local law enforcement. In his 39 years of service in law enforcement he served with several agencies in Virginia and Illinois and retired as a Sergeant from Hopewell Sheriff’s Office. Jim was instrumental in training Law Enforcement Officers. His favorite topics were firearms training and EVOC. He even had the opportunity to train his son-in-law in the basic police academy.
In 2013, Jim took a new interest in learning to play the tenor drum with his daughter Natalie. From the moment he was convinced, to learn and to play he then put his heart and soul into it. Jim rose to the rank of Drum Corporal and not only played the tenor drum but also learned to play the bass. They joined the Metro Richmond Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums band of which he was a member for the rest of his life. He took pride in being able to play at countless events and Law Enforcement funerals.
He never met a stranger. He could meet any one any where and could converse as if they had known each other for years. As a result, he had friends all over the world. He cherished his relationships with his friends and family. Jim’s biggest pride and joys were his grandchildren. He looked forward to the day when he became “PawPaw”. He loved sharing his knowledge of woodworking, hunting, and running the land with Hunter and Lindsay. Jim was beyond excited to be a part of many of Colt’s first.
Jim was also a part of many organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police, Moose International, The American Legion, and the VFW. He enjoyed spending time with other members of these organizations and frequently talked about it with family.
After his retirement he spent many days on his farm taking care of his many animals, driving his tractor, and wood working.
The family will receive friends from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, 2023 at the Hopewell Chapel of J.T. Morriss and Son Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 1, 2023 at the funeral home. Interment will follow at Merchants Hope Memorial Gardens. Following interment the family will be welcoming friends to the VFW in Hopewell for a funeral reception. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to a charity of your choice that assists veterans.