Roy Harold Meeks, Sr., 98
One of the greatest of his generation has passed on from this life to the next. Roy Meeks, son of Stafford Amos Meeks and Amy Meeks, a native of Douglas, GA, but a long time resident of Waycross, died May 31 at the age of 98. Husband, father, Christian, American, Union leader, fisherman, Mason, railroad mechanic, WWII veteran and thoughtful opinionator – he was all of these things and more. Married to Mable Herrin Meeks for over 75 years, he was above all else a loving husband who was proud of his partner in life and in love with her until death – and no doubt beyond. Roy loved Mable. They made an attractive couple at every stage of life.
Roy loved his children—Pam Alterman, Hal Meeks and his wife Jo, and Kalista Morton. His greatest ambition was their happiness and success. Roy was a great father who rarely let his children (even when adults) leave the driveway without a battery and oil check , a tire inspection, a "what can I do for you?", a “drive careful” and an “I love you.” He took great pride in both of his daughters and their accomplishments, and was embarrassing quick to introduce “my son, the Atlanta lawyer” to anyone within earshot.
Roy loved his family. Beyond his children, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, he loved his parents, his siblings, nieces and nephews and even his in-laws. He remained close to his siblings (Fulton Meeks, Mozelle Smith, Virginia Norris, Charles Meeks and Roscoe Meeks) and was a frequent visitor, especially as their health failed. A Meeks family reunion was a high holy day and he delighted in seeing the family history published in 2018.
His family loved Roy. When downsizing to assisted living, his children had the task of going through “his papers” that included many touching greeting cards and long, heart-felt letters of gratitude from grandchildren, thanking him for taking the time to take them fishing, drive them around “the country”, entertain them at his Lake Oconee home and otherwise show them how important they were to Roy and Mable. Roy’s children and grandchildren recognize that they have been truly blessed and were able to tell him so.
Roy loved his job. A railroad man, he was elected to a position of General Chairman of the Machinists and Aerospace Workers union as a young man and served until retirement. He was honored recently as the longest living, and longest dues-paying member of the union in history. He elected to pay dues long after it was mandatory for retirees, in appreciation for what the IAMAW had done for him. One of his proudest accomplishments was, with Bob Tonning’s help, securing a second chance for railroad employees battling alcoholism. Rather than lose their job, men and women were given the opportunity to change the course of their lives.
Roy loved to fish – saltwater and freshwater-- any time of year. He owned a number of modest boats over the years, but his favorite was a 14 foot aluminum with small motor. His one glittery fast bass boat got little use. He maintained that no one ever caught a fish going 50 mph. Roy and Mable owned a lake house on Oconee near the real Buckhead for about 25 years in retirement and they got a lot of joy from fishing, gardening, and hosting. He wasn’t superhuman, but his fish fries and hush puppies did no doubt feed the five thousand, just not all at once. He always had the deep fryer handy and an extra freezer full of filleted fish.
Roy was kind to others. In the 1960s, his children recall the many times a stranger would ring the bell at their home and ask for help with “their papers.” He was known to be trustworthy and for those who couldn’t read or read well, he was a resource to help them with whatever paperwork had them befuddled. In the 70s and 80s he was the uncompensated yard man and small task man for all elder folks in his neighborhood. He was uncompensated fishing guide for many, and took A.V. Kennedy fishing until Mr. Kennedy was 100 years old, when Roy was a young 70. He was a friend to many.
Roy was smart, opinionated and was not above questioning a motive. He nearly always had a very sound basis for those opinions and suspicions, but they did sometimes make him an outlier in South and Middle Georgia. For example, he had no use for the Confederate flag and nostalgia over the “lost cause.” He considered the confederate flag an insult to his African American neighbors and to the “United” States.
He was a proud U.S. flag-flying American. Having grown up during the depression, he would be the first to tell you the past wasn’t that great, many things are better now, but there is still room to improve the future. He also was big on separation of church and state, right down to walking out on few sermons when the preacher started politicking. He was born a Baptist and died a Baptist but he was open to other's opinions. He believed in buying American, promoting American jobs and lifting wages for working people!
In lieu of flowers, give thought to supporting raising the minimum wage and tell your elected officials that Roy says –“if the people don’t have buying power, this whole economy will collapse!” If you wish make a donation in his memory, a gift to Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia, 134 Indigo Drive, Brunswick, Georgia 31525 would be appreciated.
Roy lived a full life and he fully appreciated that he was beyond blessed. He stated many times in his last months that he had lived more than his share, and it was "time to go." He will be missed.
In addition to Mable and his children, Roy is survived by Stuart Baker Meeks (and Emily), Lanier Meeks Yi (and Chang), Matthew Morton, Sam Morton, and Charlie Morton, Jonathan Alterman, Andrew Alterman, Katie Rosenberg (and Sammy), Amy Alterman (and Grace), Michael Alterman (and Melissa), seven great-grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, and other extended family.
A funeral service was held Sunday, June 2, 2019, at 3 p.m. in the Miles-Odum Funeral Home Chapel. The family received friends beginning at 2 p.m. at the funeral home. A private family burial followed the service.
Sympathy may be expressed by signing online at www.milesodumfuneralhome.com
Miles-Odum Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.