Douglas Eskra

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Douglas M. Eskra, 78, of Smithton, IL, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, June 7, 2021, at his residence in Smithton, IL.

Doug was born September 6, 1942, at Parklane Hospital in St. Louis, MO, the elder son of late Emil and Ludena Reames Eskra.  On April 16, 1965, he married the love of his life, Darlene Weaver Eskra, who remained his love and companion until the end.

Doug came from a military family and had traveled frequently overseas to Europe and the Philippines.    Doug started his high school career at O’Fallon Township High but graduated from Central High School in London, England in 1960.  After the family returned from England, he attended Belleville Area College (SWIC) receiving an AA degree in 1962.  He attended SIU Alton receiving a BS in Art Education in 1964 and then completed his collegiate career attaining a Master of Secondary Education and Master of Fine Art from SIU Edwardsville in 1967.

Doug began his career as an educator in 1964 at Pontiac-William Holiday Schools in Fairview Heights.  Once completing his higher education in 1967, he began teaching full-time at Belleville West High School and part-time at SWIC.  Doug retired from Belleville West after 29 years in 1996.  In 1999 he started teaching full-time at SWIC with his final retirement in 2016 to enjoy life fishing, playing billiards, and going on RV trips with his wife, Darlene.

He was preceded in death by his parents; uncle, Eugene and wife Pearl; aunt, Loretta Reams Middleton; cousin, Mark Middleton; Rick Wheeler, widower of Sandra Reames Wheeler; son-in-law, Carl Hawkins; and close friend and colleague, William Evans.

He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Darlene Weaver Eskra; a daughter, Kellie Eskra Hawkins; a son, Scott and his wife, Sengul Eskra; granddaughter, Erin Treff and her husband, Chris; grandson, Devin Eskra, his son, Sterling, and his, fiancé, Danielle Wannemacher; brother, Victor and his wife, Vicki Eskra; nephew, Tod Eskra and his wife, Laura, and their two sons, Jase and Cade; and nephew, Ean Eskra, his wife Ana, and their daughter, Emilija Eskra.

Also surviving are Gene Middleton, husband of Doug’s aunt Loretta Reams Middleton; cousin, Art Reames and wife Kay; cousin, Robert Reames and wife Lisa; cousin, Sandra Reames Wheeler; cousin, Allen Reames and wife Janet; cousin, Don Brewer and wife Roseann; cousin, Carol Brewer Whittenberg and husband Bill; cousin, Cheryl Brewer Wahlmeier and husband Bruce; cousin, Harold Brewer and wife Kathy; Patty Middleton, widow of cousin Mark Middleton; cousin, Linda Middleton Connor; cousin, Matt Middleton and wife Jenny; and cousin, Rick Middleton and wife Stephanie.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to a scholarship and award fund in Doug’s name to support the work of young artists, just as he did in his life.  You can donate to this link: . Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Visitation:  A gathering of family and friends celebrating Doug’s life will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 19, 2021, at George Renner & Sons Funeral Home, Belleville, IL


10 Comments on Douglas Eskra

Brad & Cecelia Eilering said : Guest Report Aug 23, 2021 at 9:06 PM

Darlene and family - Please accept our sincerest condolences. Doug was a great artist, mentor and most of all friend! Everyone liked him. So sorry to hear of this news today. Doug always encouraged the "chasing of one's dreams" and we are doing just that! Sending our prayers.

  • Corpus Christi
  • TX
Linda Silch said : Guest Report Jul 01, 2021 at 1:27 PM

My sincere sympathy to all the family and friends. Doug Eskra was the kind of teacher who’s class was the one you always looked forward to. His love of art was contagious and his encourgagement shaped the lives of many students, including myself. A great artist and all around good guy that we were lucky to have amongst us! I would like to think that he and some of his late buddies are causing quite the “HOO HA!” in the heavens. God Bless! -Linda Lauko Silch

  • Belleville
  • Il
Becky & Marshall Peterson said : Guest Report Jun 20, 2021 at 10:19 AM

Darlene, our heart ached when we heard the news of Doug's passing. He was a beautiful person. His reach touched so many lives. His love of drawing is embedded in so many of us who took his classes and who worked with Doug. We wish you the comfort that memories can bring. You and your family are in our thoughts as you grieve Doug's loss. He will live on in his students.

  • Swansea
  • Illinois
Laura Martin said : Guest Report Jun 19, 2021 at 12:41 PM

What a gift to get to be a high school art student of Doug Eskra's in the 80's. He was the kind of teacher who could nurture both the skill and love of art. He was so lively, and created an environment that gave young people room to grow. He lives on in the creative works of so many people. I have so much gratitude for his life today.

  • Portland
  • OR
Kema Austin said : Guest Report Jun 18, 2021 at 3:37 PM

I am so sorry for your loss. Doug was such a wonderful man and he loved Darlene with his whole heart. I know that he and Steve are fishing right now talking about the old days. All my prayers and love. Kema

  • Corpus Christi
  • TX
Kathy McDade Draper said : Guest Report Jun 15, 2021 at 11:38 AM

So sorry for your loss, I knew him as a teacher at BTHS West in the early 1970's n ive seen his work there and at SWIC. I'm sorry for your loss

  • Belleville
  • IL
Neil & Marge said : Guest Report Jun 14, 2021 at 4:30 PM

A talent lost to the area. Some of his creative works still hang on the walls of our house. Treasures. Darlene, sadness in our hearts too. N&M

  • IL
Carolyn Beamer said : Guest Report Jun 13, 2021 at 8:53 PM

So sorry Darlene for your loss. I hope you are all right. It’s very hard believe me I know. I won’t be able to come Saturday be out of town. Thinking of you

  • Okawville
  • IL
Lynn Schwoebel said : Guest Report Jun 13, 2021 at 6:49 PM

Dear Family, My heart is broken for you over the loss of Doug. It was my honor and privilege to work with him at Belleville West. What a wonderful man! So very talented, always positive and always smiling! Please know that I am praying that you will all feel God’s loving arms wrapped around you, holding you close and filling you with His peace in the days and weeks ahead.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Shelby Mehrtens said : Guest Report Jun 13, 2021 at 3:45 PM

Darlene,please accept my condolences on the passing of Doug ! He was lived and respected by everyone who knew him .May God comfort you and may His angels watch over you and send you peace....

  • Smithton
  • IL

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