Robert “Hop” Wayne Eldridge, 72, of La Porte passed away on Thursday, March 12, 2020, at La Porte Hospital.
Robert was born in La Porte, Indiana, on Feb. 20, 1948, to Wayne and Claire (Hohn) Eldridge.
On Dec. 30, 1971, in La Porte, Indiana, he married Catherine Fitzpatrick, who survives. Also surviving are his children, Benjamin Eldridge and Zachary Eldridge, both of La Porte; three sisters, Barbara (Phil) Fick of Mishawaka, Roberta (Tom) Burns of Peoria, Illinois, and Rebecca Niedbalski of Mishawaka; and two nieces, Jenna Nehl of Lacon, Illinois, and Alyssa Rotolo of Merritt Island, Florida.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Bob graduated from La Porte High School in 1966. Hop was an outstanding basketball/baseball star at La Porte High School, earning three varsity letters in each sport. He actually made the varsity baseball team early in his freshman year and played left field. He received a basketball scholarship to Drake University, but after one year moved to Robert Morris Junior College in Carthage, Illinois. The next year, he transferred to Southern Illinois University where he played basketball and baseball. He graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in education. In 1970, he signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians. Earlier, he had been drafted by the Washington Senators in 1968, by Cleveland in 1969 and Oakland in 1970. Hop pitched in the minor leagues for four years and in 1972 with Class AA Elmira, New York, he faced only 27 batters and pitched a no-hitter. In February of 2016, Bob was inducted into the La Porte High School, Norman J. Hubner Hall of Fame. After baseball, he worked in sales. Bob sold industrial gases and manufacturing products for Carborundum and for Air Products and Chemicals. He loved attending sporting events, especially going to Slicer baseball and football games, as well as girls and boys basketball games. He also loved to attend Southern Illinois men’s basketball and baseball games. He enjoyed attending Cubs and White Sox games. In the summer, Bob looked forward to the concerts at Fox Park.
Bob was a member of the La Porte First United Methodist Church and People to People International.
Cremation has taken place with Cutler Funeral Home and Cremation Center, La Porte.
A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be announced at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the La Porte First United Methodist Church, 1225 Michigan Ave., La Porte, IN 46350 or La Porte High School Athletic Department, 602 ‘F’ St., La Porte, IN 46350.
Condolences may be shared with the family online at www.cutler cares.com.