Mayme Jo “Punkie” Eckhart Camp left this world for paradise on Monday, October 11, 2021. She was born on September 12, 1942 to Howard and Elsie Eckhart in San Antonio, Texas. She attended St. Joseph Catholic School through grade school, and Bandera Schools until her sophomore year when she transferred to Providence High School in San Antonio and graduated in 1960.
There are few that have stared death in the face as many times as Punkie and claimed victory. In addition to defeating cancer four separate times, she achieved local fame when she was 17 years old after sustaining life threatening and physically devastating injuries in her fall from “Punkie’s Pass” between Bandera and Hondo. She was awarded a private graduation ceremony and presented her high school diploma while in her hospital bed at Santa Rosa Hospital during her recovery. This resulted in an abrupt end of her lifelong plan to continue her study of piano in college and beyond. Her love of music was by design. She was born into a family of musicians. She grew up in a home where music was created and performed, as an essential to life. Many, many nights were spent with two pianos going at full capacity along with many other accompaniments by joyful attendees.
The artists in her family were not confined to music. Her mother and father opened Eckhart Flower Shop in the 1950s where she discovered her talent and passion for floral design. She spent her career working for some of the best designers in the industry, ultimately taking the helm of Eckhart’s until her retirement and its closing in 2000. Throughout her professional career, and many years after, Punkie was committed to the betterment of her beloved Bandera County. She was a long-time member and officer of the Bandera County Chamber of Commerce, a founding member of the Cowboy Capital Rodeo Association, and served multiple terms on the City of Bandera Planning and Zoning Committee. She was a proud descendant of the Polish Settlers, a fact that, if not evidenced by her service to her community, she would gladly take the opportunity to share with you.
Her retirement years were spent surrounded by the people she loved and who loved her the most, her immediate and extended family. She was a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a recent great grandmother and a friend to so many. She was the best of the best and one of the true Bandera matriarchs.
Punkie was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Alice Jane Eckhart and her brothers, Howard Eckhart and Charlie Eckhart. She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Jana and Samuel “Bubba” Herrera, grandchildren; Ian Bakken, James Bakken, Kaia Bakken, and Jason Herrera; and great-granddaughters Avery Lynn Howard and Adalynn Taylor Bakken. She was “Aunt Punkie” to many, but most especially to Stan Eckhart, Stacey Eckhart, and Ally Eckhart. Others she loved as her own include Katie Graves, Emalee Wright and so, so many bonus kids and grandkids.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, November 26, 2021. A private, family inurnment will immediately follow in St. Stanislaus Catholic Cemetery. At 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 27, Punkie’s family has extended an invitation to join at the family home on 215 14th Street in Bandera for an afternoon of music, laughter, and stories. You know she’d want you to bring your instruments and join in the music, so please do.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Frontier Times Museum of Bandera or any of the Bandera County libraries.
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