On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Ira Preston Meeks, loving husband, father of three and grandfather to nine, passed away at home surrounded by family. Preston was born June 11, 1947, in Ware Shoals, S.C., the third of four children born to Horace and Aleene Meeks.
After graduating from Ware Shoals High School in 1965, he pursued a career in radio, studying at the Atlanta School of Broadcasting. Preston enlisted in the United States Air Force and was stationed at a communications site in Karamürsel, Turkey, where he was a member of the base football team. He completed his four and a half years of service in Minot, N.D. Along the way, Preston met his future wife, Linda Dickey, a Registered Critical Care Nurse, through his dear friend, Joel Bailey.
Linda and Preston married in 1968, and started a family. He graduated from Lander University in Greenwood, S.C., in 1973, with a bachelor’s degree in business. At Lander, Preston was honored for academic and leadership achievements; he founded and served as president of the Veterans Organization, focused on helping military veterans transition to the civilian workforce. Preston subsequently pursued a Master in Business Administration from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.
He lived in Moncks Corner, S.C.,until his career with Albany International led the family to Olympia, Wash., in 1980, he served as the manager of the Tumwater plant. While he remained loyal to his southern roots, Preston fell in love with Washington state and remained there for the rest of his life. He started an agency for staffing nurses and other medical professionals and a successful adult family home business in Centralia, Wash.
Preston loved spending time with family and cherished trips to the beach and other opportunities to connect. A quick wit, Preston was thought of as the class clown growing up–he carried that ability to connect and bring a smile to people’s faces his entire life.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Preston is survived by his wife, Linda; siblings, Polly (Tommy) Foster of Chester, S.C., Lamar Meeks of Laurens, S.C., and Lanny (Amy) Meeks of Hodges, S.C.; and his three children, Matt (Tamera) Meeks of Bellevue, Wash., Melissa (Benjamin) Varick of Chehalis, Wash., and Whitney (Robert) Law of Seattle, Wash., and their families.
At his request, Preston’s remains will be scattered by the family near Arch Cape, Ore., where he enjoyed time with family in recent years.