It is with great sadness to share the news that we lost one our top masters, Professor Lee Eichelberger, who passed away peacefully in the early morning on 5th Oct 2018 at the venerable age of 91.
Lee joined Island Judo/Jujitsu as a student of Professor Wally Jay in 1966, receiving his first black belt in 1971 and received the title of professor in 1988. He achieved a 10th degree black belt in Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, 9th degree black belt in Small Circle Jujitsu, and 1st degree in Judo (from United States Judo Association).
He was the senior member of Professor Wally Jay’s Island Judo/Jujitsu Club which was also the Jujitsu America hombu dojo. He was the main instructor to teach classes at the home dojo when Professor Wally Jay was travelling and helped manage the dojo. He also travelled extensively with Professor Wally Jay to assist him teaching seminars around the USA.
He spent many years teaching even when he lost his sight, he continued to teach into his late eighties.
Born in Fresno, CA in 1927, he moved to Oakland in 1932 and lived in Alameda since 1952. Lee was predeceased by his wife, Donna “Jean” Casey and is survived by his children, Dennis (Lori), Marilyn Leedom (Bob -deceased), Susan Broughton (Bill), Peter (Libbi) and many grandchildren.
Lee served in the US Navy prior to attending UC Berkeley (Civil Engineering). His engineering career included a combined 34 years for Alameda and Union City, and 11 years with Doric Development.
His interests included martial arts (for about 50 years), folk dancing (for over 50 years) and the Alameda Little Theatre (board member for 33 years).
Some of his Awards:
He was inducted into the US Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Jujitsu Grandmaster of the Year in 2011.
Jujitsu America Instructor of the Year 1981
Jujitsu America Black Belt Hall of Fame 1982
Jujitsu America Wally Jay Award 2005
Jujitsu America Patriarch Award 2011
His lifetime memberships included:
UC Berkeley Alumni Association, Masonic Association, Alameda Little Theatre and Jujitsu America.