On Friday, May 18, 2012, Danny Eaker, of Roswell, passed away in Gallup. A service will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 24, 2012, at Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Adam Soliz officiating. Danny will be laid to rest in South Park Cemetery following the service.
Danny Ray Eaker was born on May 24, 1957, in Kansas City, Mo., to Betty McHenry. Danny valued education. He graduated from Ft. Scott Community College, where he wrestled on scholarship. He received his Bachelor of Arts in history from Eastern New Mexico University and his master’s in education administration from Western New Mexico University. He was a history teacher at Tohatchi High School in the Navajo Nation. He taught at Valley View Elementary School, where he touched the lives and hearts of many young people. He was the assistant principal at Mesa Middle School and the principal at Edgewood Elementary.
Danny spent many of his years around the sport of wrestling. He took much pride in being an athlete. He was captain of his high school wrestling and cross-country teams. His teammates became his brothers and some continued to be a part of his life throughout his life. He went to college to wrestle and to be able to coach wrestling. He coached at Tohatchi High, Roswell High, and Goddard High and assisted with the New Mexico Military Institute wrestling team, where he catapulted programs and the lives of many young men. He worked tirelessly at helping people to find their strengths on the mat and in their lives.
As he moved into administration in the Roswell Public Schools, he served as the federal programs director before taking on his dream position of being the Roswell schools athletic director. He spent much of his time at games, watching athletes and cheering them on. He took great pride in the Roswell teams. He took the time to know the athletes and the families. Danny held that position until his retirement in 2010. He accepted a position at the Navajo Nation Choosghai Community School as an administrator for the past two years, where again he supported academics and athletes. He had much respect for the Navajo culture and felt at home with the community in Tohatchi.
Danny grew up in Midway. He loved history and as a child dreamed of seeing the world. Through education and hard work, he afforded those travels. He and Sylvia traveled the world together. Even though he left this world without visiting Australia and Antarctica, he did visit the other five. They saw Stonehenge, Paris, Rome, Athens and Seville. They stood in front of the Coliseum and the Parthenon, visited the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. They visited every Mayan ruin in Mexico that was listed on a map and explored Machu Pichu and the Inca Trail. They visited the pyramids in Egypt. They were preparing for a trip to the Bahamas.
Danny loved adventure and he loved to read. He collected the classics and his library is a sanctuary for the many tales of the great authors. He could often be found telling his granddaughters stories of Dracula or Beowulf. Books and literacy brought great pleasure to his later years.
Five years ago, Danny discovered a house in ruins that he fell in love with. It became his passion project and he restored it with the perseverance, attention and grace that he took on all challenges in life. His legacy lives on through his granddaughters and the values he instilled. They will always value family, education, literature, travel, and live their lives with integrity and with the grace of God as Danny did.
Those left to cherish Danny’s memory are wife Sylvia Eaker of Roswell; daughter, Teresa Eaker-Gray and her husband Andrew of Watrous; granddaughters, Alyssa and Alia Gray, of Watrous; sisters and brothers-in-law, Tina and Dale Shields, of Middleton, Ohio, and Shelly and Matt Martinez, of Tularosa; brother and sister-in-law Kent and Margie Eaker, of Alamogordo; step-father Norman Eaker, of Roswell; mother-in-law Esther Acosta; and other lifelong beloved family, Arturo, Alonzo and Rudy Acosta, Victoria Garcia, Norma Archuleta, Yolanda Fuentez, Velma Acosta and Lorene Montoya.
Preceding Danny in death were mother Betty McHenry; father-in-law Emilio Acosta; and brother-in-law Felipe Acosta.
Serving as pallbearers are Alonzo Acosta, Arturo Acosta, Rudy Acosta, Andy Gray, Kent Eaker, Mike Foster, Mike Thomas and Raymond Webb.
Honorary pallbearers will be Rusty Gray, Jammie Burrell, Jason Stephens, Hector Ramirez, Arturo Alfaro, Alvin Mack, Gary Olfield, Charlie Rodriquez, Keith Butler, Peter Polaski, all of his beloved nephews, and his students and wrestlers who he had the pleasure of knowing and teaching.
Please take a moment to share your thoughts and memories in the online register book at andersonbethany.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home and Crematory.