Martin Meeks passed away peacefully in the early evening
of November 16, 2013 after a brief illness, surrounded by
his loving family.
Sam was born November 2, 1929 to Homer Dodwell Meeks and
Ethel "L" Cutcheon
Meeks in Compass Lake, Florida. Raised in a small rural
home, Sam had a happy childhood. As the firstborn son, Sam
enjoyed many privileges. When he was fussy as an infant,
his parents would take him for rides in the old Model A,
until he fell asleep. As a toddler, Sam was asked to sing
solos at church. When he was a little older, Sam was a "regular"
on a local radio station for a time. Sam was soon joined
by his sunny younger brother Homer "Rip" Meeks
(Jr.) and feisty baby sister Sue (Susan Meeks Worrell).
Once, when Sam was no more than four, the house caught on
fire. His mother instructed Sam to take little Rip across
the road where they would be safe. Sam grabbed his brother,
his ukulele, and his favorite rocking chair, and waited
obediently across the street. The house still stands. But
we do not know what happened to the rocking chair. According
to family legend, it is still sitting in the home. During
his childhood, Sam enjoyed New Years fireworks, homemade
Christmases, singing with his cousins, listening to his
father tell stories, and many other adventures.
The family moved north to Dothan, Alabama, when Sam was
a teenager. His natural leadership skills and easy charm
led him to become the senior class president. Sam’s
rural education had been so thorough that he was able to
graduate early from high school. Sam attended Troy State
Teacher’s College (now Troy University), where he
was equipment manager for the football team and participated
in drama and chorale endeavors. He earned his degree in
education. His studies were concentrated on English and
psychology. Upon graduation from college, Sam served a mission
for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS
Church) to the Southern States mission, and, through adversity,
increased his own testimony ten-fold. Sam later enlisted
in the United States Navy, where he served for seven years.
This Naval enlistment changed the course of his life. While
stationed in Long Beach, California, Sam bore his testimony
on tithing to the local MIA. In the audience was the lovely
and mesmerizing Madeleine Annie Curtis. The talk was so
memorable, and the young sailor so charming, intelligent,
and handsome, that when he came courting, Madeleine was
pleased to be courted. They were married in March 1954 at
the Mesa, Arizona Temple.
Soon after they married, Sam was posted to Honolulu, Hawaii.
Madeleine soon followed. There, Sam worked with the Navy
Chaplain at Pearl Harbor. Almost two blissful years later,
Sam and Madeleine began their family with the birth of their
first son, Mark Thomas. Just before he was re-posted to
San Diego, Sam was called to be a member of the Stake High
Counsel. Upon their return stateside, their daughter Sidne
Susan was born, followed by daughters Deborah Lynn and Jennelle
Ilene. After his discharge from the Navy, Sam embarked on
his lifelong career in the insurance industry. On August
12, 1962, Sam was ordained a bishop in the LDS church. Later,
he was a member of his stake high counsel. After a move
to Boise, Idaho, Sam and Madeleine added two more daughters,
Sarah Ann and Rebecca Shereen, to the family. In 1972, Sam
was set apart as Bishop of the Boise Idaho 18th Ward. He
was released from that position in 1977 and was made an
alternate member of the stake high counsel.
During his time in Idaho, Sam expanded his education and
received additional certifications from the insurance industry.
In 1973, Sam received his masters of business administration
from Boise State University. In 1974, Sam earned his chartered
property casualty underwriter certification (CPCU) from
the American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters,
Inc. In 1975, Sam served as chairman for the Committee on
Insurance Arbitration. From 1975-76, Sam served as secretary
and vice president of the Idaho Chapter of CPCU. Sam also
was a charter completer of his Associate in Claims and received
an Associate in Management. Sam published a number of articles
discussing his areas of expertise in professional trade
Sam worked most of his insurance career with Industrial
Indemnity, a worker’s compensation company. In 1977,
he was transferred to the California Bay Area as home office
manager. While in Concord, California, Sam and Madeleine
completed their family with the birth of their son James
Edward. After Sam was called to the stake high counsel in
1980, he accepted a job offer as Vice President in Claims
with Western Employers Insurance and moved his family to
Southern California. In his later years, Sam consulted with
a medical equipment concern.
Throughout his life, Sam was active in the Boy Scouting
program. As a youth, he completed his Eagle Scout Award.
Sam served as various times as Scoutmaster in the communities
in which he lived. His favorite scouting movie was "Follow
Me Boys," which should be no surprise to anyone who
knew him. Through sheer will and determination, Sam made
sure his eldest son earned his Eagle Scout Award in 1974.
Sam completed Wood Badge advanced scout leader training.
He later received the "Silver Beaver Award" in
1988 and an Award of Merit for Service to Youth in 1985
from the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Sam and Madeleine eventually settled in Cedar Hills, Utah,
to immerse themselves in the culture of the Gospel and lived
a good life in retirement. Sam spent many waking hours working
on geneological endeavors with his brother Rip and in conjunction
with the local geneological library. In Cedar Hills, Sam
found his musical outlet as a member of the Mendolssohn
Men’s Chorus. Sam enjoyed conducting geneology, painting,
singing, listening to music, spending time with his family,
reading aloud to Madeleine in the kitchen, perusing the
newspapers, caring for his much-loved son James, doing crosswords,
putting together jigsaw puzzles, composing poetry, writing
novels and non-fiction, and researching on his computer.
Sam loved the LDS gospel and bore his strong testimony of
it whenever the opportunity and need arose. His favorite
music included many hymns and Handel’s Messiah. Sam
was a serious man who loved his Savior and his family, and
enjoyed a good joke, even if it was only a pun.
Sam is survived by his beloved wife of almost 60 years,
Madeleine; his brother Homer "Rip" (Virginia)
Meeks; his children Mark Meeks, Susan (Steven) Curtis, Matt
Alexander, Jennelle (Jess) Barton, Sarah (Greg) Jackson,
Rebecca Meeks, and James Meeks; and grandchildren Amanda
Meeks, Nicholle Pacheco, Taryn Alexander, Stefanie Pacheco,
and Joshua Curtis. Sam is also survived by four great-grandsons
and has a great-grandchild on the way. He was preceded in
death by his parents, Homer and Ethel Meeks, sister Susan
Meeks Worrell, daughter Deborah Alexander, and great-grandson
A memorial service will be held for Sam at the LDS Chapel
at 9737 Chesterfield Drive, Cedar Hills, Utah at 11 am on
Friday, November 22. There will be a viewing prior to the
service beginning at 9 AM. Afterward, a graveside dedication
with military honors will be held at the Utah Veterans Cemetery
& Memorial Park 17111 South Camp Williams Road in Bluffdale,