Peter Michael ‘Mike’ Eckman age 82 of Ocala, FL passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, at Advent hospital in Ocala, Florida on Wednesday, December 4. Mike suffered from heart complications, & diabetes. He was 82 years old. Mike was born on 10/19/1937 in Whitewater, Wisconsin.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph LeRoy Eckman and Veronica Morris Eckman, and his siblings, Jerry, Rosemary, Kada, & William ‘Ricky”.
He is survived by his sister Joan Vickerman, Mequon, WI, his brother Morry Eckman (Barbara) of Ocala, FL, his 3 children; Shelbi Eckman (Greg Pirner), Joel Eckman (Brandy), and Keely Streeter (Rob), his grandchildren, Ian and Jack Pirner of New Brighton, MN, Jamie and Riley Eckman of Ocala, FL, and Latham and Skylan Streeter of Shoreview, MN, and several nieces and nephews. Mike was married to Karen Skogmo for 16 years before their divorce in 1978.
Mike grew up in Blunt, SD where he began his lifelong interest in horse racing on the Albright Ranch, beginning as a jockey on small South Dakota racetracks in the 50s. Mike enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1955 and was stationed at Lake Mead Base, Las Vegas, Nevada. Mike earned his Bachelors & Masters Degrees at Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD, taught middle school English/Social Studies in Sheboygan, WI and was a high school principal in Highmore South Dakota. Mike was Equal Educational Opportunity Director for the state of South Dakota and a public Quarter horse trainer in South Dakota in the 70s.
After moving to Ocala, Mike was advertising manager for Florida Horse Magazine in the 80s breaking many sales records at the time. Mike was also Vice President of Thoroughbred Sales Company of Ocala and an equal partner in a Thoroughbred auction company which is now known as Ocala Breeder Sales Company. He also was the Owner and Trainer of a Thoroughbred racing stable that led the state of Florida by ‘number of wins’ for three consecutive years in the 80s.
After a short-lived effort in the donut business in the early 90s, (Dippity Donuts), he created his own Thoroughbred stallion marketing agency, PM Eckman Advertising, which completely changed the landscape of Thoroughbred stallion marketing globally. PME promoted hundreds of stallions to breeders by creating and placing advertisements within industry publications around the world setting the modern standard of service and quality for Thoroughbred marketing agencies. The agency also created one of the first Thoroughbred stallion farm websites for Ocala Stud, 1996-97, and continues to be a world-leader in Thoroughbred industry website development and marketing to this day.
Mike sold the agency, now PM Advertising, in 2008 and spent his retirement continuing to develop his passion for breeding and training Thoroughbred racehorses, photography, and visiting his grandchildren. Among his many Thoroughbred breeding accomplishments was Florida-Bred Horse-of-the-Year, Mucho Macho Man. Mike was also an avid sailor and motorcycle enthusiast, having owned several sailboats and Harley Davidson motorcycles.
A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, January 3, 2020 at 4pm at 1941 SE 50th Ter, Ocala, FL. A second memorial is planned in South Dakota on Memorial Day weekend. Please contact Joel Eckman at 352-875-9041 for more information.
Announcement by Hiers-Baxley Funeral Home, Ocala, FL.