In Memory of Alice Lyons Eckardt

In Memory of Alice Lyons Eckardt

2017 Alice Eckardt SA B[Adapted from The Morning Call, courtesy of Steve Eckardt] 

Alice Lyons Eckardt, 97, died peacefully and surrounded by family Monday, June 29, 2020, following complications from surgery. She was a leading figure in both the study of and the struggle against hatred of Jews.

A professor at Lehigh University from 1972 to 1987 and a founder of its Jewish Studies program, Alice was appointed special consultant to the President’s Commission on the Holocaust by its chair Elie Wiesel in 1979 and was special advisor to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Alice wrote more than 200 scholarly articles and delivered talks for decades. With her late husband, A. Roy Eckardt, she co-authored three books: Encounter With Israel: A Challenge to Conscience (1970), Long Night’s Journey Into Day: Life and Faith After the Holocaust (1982), and A Revised Retrospective on the Holocaust (1988). She was a longtime active church member and a pillar of community groups such as the Southern Lehigh Library.

She was a founding member of the Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations since its founding in 1969 for over forty years. In 2017, the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations awarded her its Shevet Achim Award for Outstanding Contributions to Christian-Jewish Relations (pictured left with CCJR Chair Ruth Langer, accompanied by Peter A. Pettit and Mary C. Boys). 

With her customary energy, Alice pursued these activities to the end. “It’s shocking to realize that a large proportion of America’s younger generations do not know the terrible history of the Holocaust,” she said recently. “Students ought to know what dreadful things have been done, particularly to minorities whether they are religious or racial.”

She is survived by her two children, Paula and Steve, and her four grandchildren Jesse, Liz, Steph, and Devlin.

Memorial donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders.