March 31, 1938 – Nov. 10, 2011
John Clark Meek was born March 31, 1938, to Edmund “Tuffy” Meek and Wilma Marguerite Prescott in Longview, Wash. He died at North Big Horn Hospital on Thursday, Nov. 10, with his wife Drue, his son John, his daughter Becky and granddaughter Danelle by his side in vigil. He was 73.
John had many nicknames including “Doc,” “The Good Doctor,” “Big Guy” and “Doctor, Doctor.” He has two brothers, Edmund Clay Meek and Michael Meek.
John was always an energetic person with a “Type A” personality. He never stopped. He just kept going. He slept perhaps four hours a night, worked two or three jobs at all times, had curiosity and joy of life. His personality was boisterous, his body was large and strong, he talked fast, was a brilliant man and was fast and quick.
When John was 16, his family moved to Othello, Wash., where he was very popular, played football, became the class president during his senior year and graduated from Othello High School in 1956. The love of photography was instilled in him when he was in high school, and all his life he took pictures, had a dark room and spent many hours developing film.
John’s love of flying began in his younger years when his dad built him an airplane swing with three automobile springs, and the swing hung between the garage and the house and he spent hours “flying” that plane his dad made. He earned his pilot’s license quite young and was a spray pilot during the summer months when he lived in Firth, Idaho, and was working as a sixth-grade teacher and raising his family. He owned many planes during his lifetime and flew them not only to work but almost every day. He wrecked plenty of them, too.
John went to church with his aunts and grandmas and was raised in the Assembly of God Church, which was also called Holy Rollers. He went to church faithfully and watched their process. One day he was out working on his old car and a Fuller Brush man stopped to sell his mother supplies and later came out to the house to talk to John. The man was Andrew H. Hiney, a stake missionary for the LDS Church and John became interested and promised to go to church the following Sunday. This act changed the course of action in his life, his lifestyle and his friends. He was 14 when he was baptized by David Smith.
He loved his church and held many positions during his lifetime. He was a Boy Scout leader for 16 years and his other positions have been Sunday school president, Sunday school teacher, elder quorums president and high priest group leader for the Big Horn Stake. He was in the bishopric as first and second counselor. He had a strong testimony of the gospel.
John served a mission for the church in the North Central States, which included Minnesota, Eastern Dakota, Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. After his mission he returned to BYU to finish his education and there he met a lovely young red-headed woman named Donna Renquist and they married in 1960. Donna taught elementary school so John could finish his degree, which was sociology, with a major in criminal science and a minor in psychology. During this time, he went to school, then worked cleaning cupolos, furnace chimneys and boilers in Provo. He also worked at a gas station and got up at 3 a.m. to milk 78 cows, which paid the rent, and the family always had plenty of milk, cream and butter. John also helped Donna collect bottles to sell, but made her go in the store to cash them in for a bit of money.
During their marriage the couple had seven children: Becky, Margie, John, Tom, Ted, Michael and Lori Jo. During that time John was earning his degree in education. He was a sixth-grade teacher in Firth, principal there for seven years, and worked for his master’s degree in elementary administration certification.
John achieved two doctorates while he worked as a teacher and a principal. He flew to Logan, Utah, to take his classes after school and earned his doctorate in business administration. He earned his second doctorate in California. He also established his business as a car dealer, calling it The Flying “M.” He enjoyed buying and selling cars all his life.
He became a superintendent in Cowley, Coalville, Idaho, Mackay, Idaho and Midvale, Idaho. He loved education and his work. He was the man in charge, either was loved or disliked by his school boards and people, and he was a fine educator. He slept very little, remodeled homes, built homes at night; he loved life, loved to travel and had energy and strength of body and spirit. And always he flew planes. They were his major love in life.
John wrecked his dream plane, a Bonanza, in 1995, was in a coma for four months, broke every bone in his body, has had many surgeries and somehow came out of it after spending a year in the hospital. He was forced to retire because the wreck diminished his abilities to function as an administrator. His brilliant mind was affected, and he lost 20 percent of his higher learning capabilities and became just a normal person.
He met Drue Tebbs when he was a principal in Cowley and they spent many years together in turmoil, adventure, full commitment, love and respect. They were married in the 80s, both were educators and had much in common. They retired in Cowley in 1997 and have lived in the community in their retirement.
Six years ago, John was diagnosed with bladder cancer and Diabetes II. He suffered surgery once more and though his cancer never returned, he was bedridden for the rest of his life. He endured this final illness with great aplomb, a decent attitude and suffered his indignities with heroic measures. Patient even though he was crippled, grew weak, spent much time in the hospital, he faced his illnesses with gallantry and good nature. He grew patient, sweet, kind and was a wonderful companion and husband. We mourn him.
He is survived by his mother, Marguerite Meek of Los Angeles, wife Drue, his ex-wife, Donna Hanson of Salt Lake City, his children, Becky and Todd Geary of Lyman, Marjorie and Phil Ovard of Henefer, Utah, John E. Meek of Stansbury Park, Utah, Ted and Jessica Meek of Las Vegas, Michael and Cigdem Meek of Braunsville,Texas, Lori Jo and Andy Metcalf of Salt Lake City, Michael Meek of Los Angeles and his sister-in-law Judie Meek of Othello, Wash. He is also survived by 26 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, relatives, friends and townspeople who have known him for so long.
He was preceded in death by his father, Edmund “Tuffy” Meek, his son, Thomas Warren Meek, and his brother, Eddie Meek. He was also preceded in death by his beloved Aunt Meg.
Memorial services will be held at the LDS church in Cowley on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m., and a graveside service will be held at a later date.
To send one of our special floral arrangements, please call Valley Flowers, 307-548-7101