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Dr. Carol A. (Van Paemel) Ecker

September 26, 1940 ~ August 14, 2019 (age 78)

Dr. Carol A. Ecker passed away peacefully on Wednesday afternoon, August 14, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. She was born on September 26, 1940 to Marcel and Adele (Sergeant) Van Paemel, both of whom preceded her in death.

On July 1, 1969 in Tyner, Indiana, Carol married Kenneth R. Ecker, who preceded her in death on December 13, 2016. Carol is survived by her daughter, Christy L. Morse of Bremen, GA; son, Larry M. (DeeDee) Ecker of Granger, IN; and three grandchildren, Cody Morse, Ciarra Morse of Georgia, and Ryan Ecker of Granger, IN.

As one of the first women to graduate from Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Carol served as an inspiration and a valuable resource for women seeking careers in veterinary medicine. Carol was in the second graduating class of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students at Purdue University—being one of only two female students in this class. Since graduating, Carol worked tirelessly to open doors for women within the veterinary medicine profession. Carol became the first female president of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association and counseled many young women who wanted to start their own practice.

Carol met her husband, Kenny, when she became his horses’ veterinarian, and they married in 1969. Carol began showing horses at a very young age. Together, they showed and trained more than 37 AQHA champions, putting youth and amateur students with horses and showing them how to win. His daughter, Christy, won the World Championship in 1979 in Youth Mares, still the youngest to do so at eight years old.

Carol was appointed to Purdue University Board of Trustees from 1988-1997, where she served on numerous committees. She served in many capacities at Purdue—initiated the Purdue Veterinary Alumni Association as well as being an active member of Dean’s Club, President’s Club, and Purdue Council Fellow. She received the Purdue President’s Medal in 1994. She has received numerous local, state, and national awards in recognition of her volunteer work and leadership in veterinary-related activities.

For more than 40 years, Carol was president of a private veterinary practice, Clayview Animal Clinic, in South Bend. She also served as owner/operator of Clayview Farms/Kennels, secretary and treasurer of Ecker Enterprises and Marcell’s Pet Salon. She was also an active member of St. Joseph County Humane Society, Portage Manor healthcare facility, and Animal Control Commission of South Bend. Carol was a member and breeder of the Lakeshore Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club. She served on numerous boards and committees, including Michiana Kennel Club and Hoosier Summer Classic (dog shows at St. Joseph County 4H Fairgrounds).

In addition to being the first female president of Indiana Veterinary Medicinal Association (IVMA), Carol was also a long-term member of IVMA Legislative and Animal Welfare Committees; IVMA Annual Meeting Committee; as well as IVMA Audit and Budget Committee, helping to establish investment guidelines for the association. She was a founding member of the Indiana Animal Health Foundation, started in 1998. She received the IVMA Veterinarian of the Year Award in 1989 and received the IVMA President’s Award in 2009.

Carol supported and was an active member of equine organizations: 4H Horse & Pony Club of St. Joseph County; American and Indiana Quarter Horse Associations; and Palomino Horse Breeders Association.

Carol especially enjoyed her work breeding and showing Pembroke Welsh Corgis. She enjoyed her life on a farm as well as traveling, reading, and needlepoint.

Funeral services for Carol will be held at 3:00pm on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at Palmer Funeral Home—Hickey Chapel, 17131 Cleveland Road, South Bend, IN. Dr. Martin C. Langhofer and Dr. Mark Russell will officiate. Graveside services and burial will follow at Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens in Osceola. Friends may visit with the family at the funeral home from 4:00-8:00pm on Friday, August 16th as well as 1:00-3:00pm on Saturday, August 17th.

Contributions in memory of Carol may be donated to Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine, Carol and Ken Ecker Scholarship, 1177 A625 Harrison, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Online condolences may be left for the Ecker family at

Donations may be made to:

Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine
Carol & Ken Ecker Scholarship, 1177 A625 Harrison, Purdue University, West Lafayette IN 47907

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