BERTRAND -- The Rev. Billy Joe Meeks, 81, died Nov. 12, 2011, at the St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau.
Born Nov. 4, 1930, in Bertrand, to the late George Franklin and Rettie Lorene Eastwood Meeks, he was a lifelong resident of Bertrand. He was active in many community activities including being a baseball coach, scout leader, volunteer fireman and member of the IOOF Lodge. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War and the recipient of a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He worked as an auto mechanic, owning and operating Meeks Garage until his retirement in 1992. In 1971, he founded the First General Baptist Church in Charleston where he served as pastor. He established a jail ministry while serving as a deputy reserve officer. He was a chaplain at Missouri Delta Medical Center for over 25 years, began a food pantry through his church in 1981 that became the Bootheel Food Pantry in 1991 and held weekly Sunday morning services at the Charleston Manor Nursing Center for many years.
On April 17, 1950, he married Lora Mae Maxwell who preceded him in death on Dec. 7, 2007.
He was also preceded in death by four brothers, Bob Meeks, Charles Meeks, Marshall Meeks and Frank Meeks Jr., and two sisters, Paula Kay Meeks and Deloris Spitler.
Surviving are: two sons and one daughter-in-law, Garry Joe Meeks of Bertrand and Daniel "Boo" and Jackie Meeks of Charleston; one daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Bruce Groves of Bertrand; one brother, Don Meeks of Billingsley, Ala.; four sisters, Mary Allen of East Prairie, Judy Skinner of Sikeston, Jan Harper of Knoxville, Tenn., and Mae McClain of Charleston; and six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. today at the McMikle Funeral Home in Charleston where services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The Rev. Raymond Hannah, pastor of the General Baptist Church in East Prairie, will officiate. David Bridges of Atoka, Tenn., will serve as eulogist.
Burial will follow in the Oak Grove Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be: Joey Meeks, Jamie Meeks, Jason Pickett, Tim Cutlip, Emory McKinney and Nathan Humphrey.
Honorary pallbearers will be Garrison Meeks, Keith McKinney, Leo Hale, Ricky Pickett, Hunter Baker, Seth Meeks and Hunter Beck.
Online condolences may be shared at www.mcmiklefuneralhome.com.