Nathan Eckstein was born on January 10th, 1883 in a small Bavarian town. His only formal education was attendance at a “Gymnasium” (German 7-12 grade school) in Munich. He continued his schooling until he was 14, and then came to live with relatives in the United States. His uncle provided him with his first job in America as an errand boy in a grocery business.
In 1898 he moved to Seattle and in 1899 he made the trip to Alaska. Upon his return to Seattle he went into business and was affiliated with the grocery and hardware trades for many years. Later he became President of Schwabacher Brothers and co., a large grocery chain. Nathan Eckstein was a strong believer in the American system of education, and served on the school board from 1914-1920, and as director of the Seattle Public Schools. Nathan was also very active in community affairs. He contributed his services to the chamber of commerce, the Seattle Community Fund, the City Charter Commission in 1925, the state tax investigation committee from 1921-1922, and was an active supporter of charitable organizations and a patron of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
“To be a useful citizen is more than a duty, it is a high privilege. To be useful citizens we would ever cheerfully work for the development and welfare of the city we live – for the progress and peace of the country we cherish”. Eckstein made this statement on the occasion of his being chosen as “Seattle’s most useful citizen in civic event sponsored by the Post Intelligencer in 1926. He was honored with many awards including that of “Most Useful Citizen”. He died in 1945 at the age of 62.