Richard A. “Tony” Eichelberger

Richard A. “Tony” Eichelberger

Tony Eichelberger, Sewickley, PA, (son of late Tony and Eva [Brown] Eichelberger) was born on April 15, 1940, in Pekin, Illinois, and passed away on January 9, 2024, after a courageous battle with Multiple Systems Atrophy.  Tony, Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh, received his Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University.  He is survived by his wife, Rita Bean; two children, Erin, of Tucson, Arizona, and Derek (Barbara) Eichelberger, Wexford, PA.; and 3 grandchildren (Ethan, Ava, and Dylan).  He has three surviving sisters: Jean (Whitson) McClain and Sally Caracheo (both from Chicago area), and Alosia (Ron) Carlson, Salt Lake City. Tony is also survived by many nieces and nephews.  

Tony had a long and distinguished career at the University, teaching, conducting research,  and writing articles that were published in national journals.  His book, Disciplined Inquiry: Understanding and Doing Educational Research, was based on a course that he taught at the University. He reflected on the notes from his course outline and then wrote the book long-hand from those notes.   One of Tony’s greatest professional strengths was his ability to challenge and encourage his graduate students, providing them with thoughtful feedback about their work.  

As the only son of a “baseball” family, Tony was involved in playing baseball at an early age, following in the footsteps of his father and uncles who all played in local ball clubs.  He was also an outstanding basketball player for the Pekin High School Team (1956-1958), and then went on to accept a baseball scholarship at the University of Illinois.  Tony’s athletic career also included playing minor league baseball for the Giants organization. Given Tony’s love for baseball, he and Rita traveled to Omaha and attended the College World Series for 30+ years.  Tony was an avid golfer, and proud that in his mid-seventies, he was able to shoot his age.   He loved to tell stories about his athletic experiences, including the fact that he batted against Satchel Paige and Juan Marichal. 

What Tony valued most, however, was family, not only his immediate family, but also his Eichelberger relatives. The Eichelberger reunions were always a joy to attend, with time spent reconnecting, and memories shared.  Tony spoke often of what he learned as a child, the love that he experienced, and the values that he was taught.  Those values were exemplified in the way he lived. He was a generous, accepting, and compassionate person, a wonderful father and husband.    The family wishes to thank the doctor and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospice, Wexford, for the loving care that they provided for Tony and for our family. A memorial service is being planned at Heinz Chapel for May, 2024.  

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those wishing to make contributions in memory of Tony make them to the MSA Coalition ( or to the Rita Bean & Tony Eichelberger Endowed Fund University of Pittsburgh  ( , whose purpose is to study and promote greater understanding of the factors hindering equitable outcomes for members of underserved communities, and promote equity in education, economic stability, and health. This effort has always been Tony’s desire and commitment.

42 thoughts on “Richard A. “Tony” Eichelberger

  1. Since my wife and only recently moved next door to Tony and Rita we only had the privilege of knowing Tony for a brief time. But it was long enough to know what a kind and brilliant person he was. My heart goes out to Rita and the rest of his family for this loss. My deepest condolences. Ernie Orsatti

  2. Dr Eichelberger was one of my teachers and was on my dissertation committee. He was a wonderful teacher and mentor. My sincere condolences to Dr. Bean and the Eichelberger family.

  3. Yikes. What a blow. MSA is terrible stuff.

    Tony had that calm generosity few athletes have. He knew how to live a balanced life, and those who knew him were the better off for it.

    1. Hi Maureen, Thank you for your kind words. He was one of a kind — he did live a balanced life. I’m so glad I have so many wonderful memories to keep me going!

  4. I was so sad to hear this news. I have such good memories of classes with Tony. He and Rita were both on my dissertation committee, and wonderfully helpful. Holding Rita and all of Tony’s family in my thoughts.

    1. Hi Moddy, Thank you for your kind words. I have so many memories of our times at Pitt – and the work we did with you! Hope you are well. Rita

  5. I met Tony through the SR Garden Club. He was always very friendly and kind. He enjoyed working in the garden. He will be missed.

    1. Dear Betsy, He loved working in the garden – and that was one of the things he missed doing when he got sick. Thank you for your kind words. Rita

  6. Tony was a friend and colleague for many years
    His book on Disciplined Inquiry is excellent… I used it often in my courses on evaluation
    Tony had a thoughtful and level headed view off evaluation and how evaluation practice can contribute to improving education

    I valued his wisdom and learned much from him

    1. Hi Bill, Thank you for taking the time to remember Tony – I know the two of you shared many ideas about evaluation — and that he enjoyed working with you. I miss him but at the same time have wonderful memories of our time together.Rita

  7. Tony will very much be missed. He was a true “gentleman and scholar,” and I feel fortunate to have had him as a colleague. I learned a lot from him, though he is not responsible for my lack of baseball skills. May Rita and the family be comforted among the world’s mourners, and may he rest in peace.

    1. Hi Alan and Sharon, Thanks for your kind words about Tony. I know he enjoyed working with you — and we both appreciated your many contributions to the School of Education. I wanted to write to you when you were honored this Fall — but with Tony’s illness, I missed a lot of special occurrences. My memories of our life together keep me going. Best, Rita

  8. If you were walking somewhere with Tony, you better keep an arrow shot through to its target destination, he was full of purpose…the good purposes we saw modeled in his life, like growing and sharing his own vegetables, his knowledge, his belief in fairness, and his love of family. Rita, our hearts are with you in this great loss.

    1. Thanks, Tom and Luwanna -for your kind words, and – especially for sharing the past 15 months with us! Our neighbors kept us going — although I miss him deeply, I cherish the wonderful memories of our life together. Rita

  9. Mary Jo and I have known Tony and Rita since we moved into Sewickley Ridge in 2014. They are the salt of the earth. We were blessed to have Tony as our neighbor and friend for these past years. I played golf with Tony in our Sewickley Ridge Group and admired his golfing skills. But more than anything was Tony’s demeanor. Always the consummate gentleman, the kindest of souls. God will have a special place for Tony, because Our Lord takes care of those who have cared for others, as Tony has devoted his life. Tony will be playing in a special Field of Dreams and golfing only in pristine courses, with Jesus as his playing partner. Our condolences to Rita and to Tony’s family on their loss.

    1. Thanks Mary Jo and Joe, for your kind words and wonderfjul memories of Tony. He is missed – but I am grateful for the many years and memories that we shared. Rita

  10. I am so sorry to hear this sad news. I enjoyed my interactions with Tony over the years and learned much from him. He adored his family and often talked about them at work.
    His legacy of great work will live on with his many students.

    1. Thanks, Mary Margaret, for your kind words – and for sharing your thoughts about Tony. He will be greatly missed — I am grateful for the wonderful memories of our life together.

  11. I just heard the sad news tonight,1/5, that Tony had passed. Tony was a kind and helpful friend and colleague. He will be missed by many, including, students who always found Tony an easy-to-approach helper, especially at dissertation time. My heart aches for Tony’s family, and of course, his wife and my dear, dear friend, Rita.

    1. HI Isabel, Thank you for your kind words about Tony — we had such great times together — with you– those are the memories I will cherish — Love Rita

  12. I was so sad to hear about Tony. We lived across the street from Tony and Rita for decades. Tony and I would talk often about gardening (he watered my garden while on vacation and I maintained his garden during his many trips.) Tony Rita and I often golfed together during the summer and he “tried” to teach me how to chip and putt. He had a great sense of humor. They were wonderful neighbors. I know Tony is playing golf and baseball in heaven.

    1. Hi Rose and Paul, I’m glad you saw the obit — you were such great neighbors and thanks for taking the time to share your memories of Tony! I will miss him – at the same time, I cherish the many years we shared together. Hoping you and I might have a golf game together in the summer — we can think about what a great player he was! I haven’t gotten any better. Miss you and Paul,

  13. I just heard the sad news tonight (1/14) about Tony. I have such happy memories of Tony at the university and on the golf course and at parties. He will be missed by so many. I hope the happy memories will in time console and comfort Rita and Derreck and Erin and the rest of the family. My heart is with you.

    1. Hi Becky, Thanks for sharing your memories of Tony.
      I think back to our time with your family at Conneaut – Chipper and Bear — those are wonderful memories — he and I had a wonderful life and I’m grateful for the time that we had together. Take care – and best to you and Paula.

  14. As Tony’s older sister (one of three), I have always been aware of his talent and gifts in the classroom and on the baseball field. However, what I treasure most is his warm, unconditional love, his empathy and caring, and the way he was in the world. Of course, it was also fun when he won second place in the family corn hole tournament at the age of 81.
    Sending my deep love for you, Rita, Erin, Derek and Barbie, Ethan, Ava and Dylan.

    You are loved, Tony, even more than ever!!! And you are missed. Grateful for your freedom from
    your physical limitations!

    1. Love you, Alosia. Thank you for thelove you shared with Tony and with me. Your remarks are “right on”! He was just like his father — kind and generous — and accepting of all. Rita

    1. Hi Barbara, Thank you for taking the time to send your thoughts about Tony. I have many memories and – you are right — he was a positive person – seeing the good in everyone! Best,Rita Bean

  15. It’s so hard to lose Tony! From times with he and Rita during the College World Series , meals and special events at IRA, traveling to Hungary, cruising the Mediterranean, Black Sea, spending time in The Grand Tetons with Niece Beth, enjoying Pittsburgh Conservatory, experiencing hills and great meals on the cliff, watching sports.

    Tony knew how to live graciously, share his huge heart, and enjoy new experiences at Chatauqua. We will miss him so much! But we were blessed to have him in our lives. And we will enjoy remembering him with Rita!

    We thank the Lord for the time we have spent with Rita and Tony. We count them among the greatest blessings. And we will continue to share those blessings as we remember Tony and share those memories with Rita.

    1. Hi Cathy and John, We have been friends for so long – I know you miss Tony – we had some wonderful times together – and great memories. As one of our community members said, Tony may be gone, but he won’t be forgotten. Indeed, he will not. Love ya, Rita

  16. I just heard of Tony’s passing. I took some evaluation classes with him, was on a couple of projects at LRDC in the Evaluation Research Unit, and played together on the Educational Research Department softball team. Oh the stories he could tell. Take care Rita

    1. Hi Richard, How nice to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words — and yes, he was known for his stories. I’m trying to write them down so that we have a record of his wonderful sports stories! I have wonderful memlories and I miss him. sBest to you. Rita Bean

      1. Rita, here is the best Tony story that I recall. One season he broke his leg or ankle in the minors. The next season in Giants training camp, they timed him running to first base. And said he was too slow. He wanted to say he was always slow. I think this helped him start thinking about going to grad school. Good to hear from you and take care.


  17. Dear Rita and family: I’m so sad to hear this. Although my time at Pitt was brief, I greatly benefited from Tony’s kindness and his generous and wise guidance to a brand new professor! I feel lucky to have a colleague like Tony in my first academic job. Thinking of all of you! Cynthia Coburn

    1. Hi Cynthia, How nice to hear from you. We appreciate your kind comments about Tony. He was a special guy and a great husband. I will share with family. Best to you – I think of you often and look for your work! Rita Bean

  18. Dear Rita, Sending you hugs of comfort and sympathy at the loss of your beloved husband. He was the source of joy and strength to your family and will be deeply missed. Holding you in prayer.

    1. Dear Pamela, Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. Tony was special and I cherish the many memories we shared. Rita Bean

  19. Dearest Rita,

    I send you my deepest sympathy over the loss of Tony. I know we are all feeling the loss but it is coupled with a sense of gratitude to have had the chance to know such a deep and honorable human being. Tony was my first post PhD “boss”. He was kind and gently humorous as he tried to both calm any storms and encourage any sunshine.

    1. DearGaea, You describe him so well. It is a loss and my only joy comes from the many memories I have of our years together , the friends we made, and the happiness that he brought to my life. Rita

  20. What a beautiful description of a man we all loved who led a wonderful full life with family and friends. My heart is so sad for you Aunt Rita. You two were perfect together and I am so glad you found the love of your life. I so enjoyed your visits to AZ. I will miss my Uncle Tony very much. He was a very good man. Love you and please know I am only a phone call away. Cindy

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