Robert L. “Bob” Meeks, 84, passed away at his home in Carthage, Missouri, on Friday, August 26, 2022. Bob was born on August 16, 1938, in Ferriday, Louisiana to William Edgar Meeks and Grace Mae “Loucks” Meeks.
Bob attended Arkansas State University where he earned his Master’s degree in Music, and then spent the next several decades touching the lives of countless students as a music educator while also performing as a professional musician. During his career Bob received numerous honors and awards, including being named “Outstanding Jazz Educator” by the Missouri Association of Jazz Educators, selected as a “Legend of Music Education” by Palen Music Center, and selected as “Best Teacher” multiple times through the years by his students.
Bob was heavily involved with many national and state music education associations and served as the state chairman of the Collegiate Music Educators National Association, as well as being elected Band Vice President and then President of the Missouri Music Educators Association. Bob was a regular adjudicator and clinician at various music competitions and camps.
Throughout his career Bob always looked for ways to promote music appreciation and participation by forming and directing multiple concert and jazz community bands. Bob was a founder and director of the “Sounds of Missouri” concert band that performed extensively in England, Austria, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland, and was the jazz director for the “Missouri Ambassadors”, which also performed in front of enthusiastic and receptive audiences across Europe.
As a performer, Bob was a skilled trumpet player and saxophonist. Early in his career Bob worked with the Gib Brewington Combo, the Ray Coble Combo, the Joe Lee Combo, the Colie Stoltz Combo, and the Bill Black Combo. He also worked as a studio musician in Memphis and played with Jerry Lee Lewis, among other well-known musicians. In more recent years, he performed in Branson, Missouri with the Jack Decker Quintet, and was the principal trumpet player for the Missouri Southern State College Orchestra from 1986 through 1994. Born in Louisiana, Bob was always fond of Dixieland music, and he formed and played with several Dixieland bands.
Bob’s career in elementary and high school music education took him from Hughes, Arkansas to Mountain Grove, Missouri and finally to Carthage, Missouri. Bob then became Director of Bands and Professor of Music at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri where he eventually retired.
After retirement, Bob became a member of the Patriot Guard where he rode over 500 missions. Bob was eventually selected to be the Missouri state Secretary-Treasurer. He felt a strong sense of duty and camaraderie with the Patriot Guard and felt honored to be able to show his respect to our fallen veterans.
Ultimately, Bob will be remembered for his quick wit and sense of humor, and for the positive impact he had on everyone around him as a husband, father, teacher, mentor, role model, and friend.
Bob was joined in marriage to Sylvia Barker on December 28, 1958, in Helena, Arkansas; she survives.
Along with his wife Sylvia Meeks, Bob is survived by one daughter, Elizabeth Norwood (James) of Carthage, Missouri; one son, Robert F. Meeks (Lisa) of Sandy, Utah; six grandchildren, Natalie Norwood (Kelsey), Bethany Williams (Andrew), Jack Meeks, Gretchen Meeks, Jay Norwood, and Nancy Theriot (Erik); two great granddaughters, Iris Norwood and Ashten Williams; one brother, Thomas Meeks of Phoenix, Arizona; and embraced family friends Dean and Kathy Ellensohn-Cogar of Waynesville, Missouri.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents William Edgar and Grace Mae Meeks, and one brother, Bill Meeks.
A memorial service for Bob Meeks will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at Ulmer Funeral Home in Carthage, Missouri. An open visitation will be held on Friday, September 16, 2022, at Ulmer Funeral Home.
Condolences may be made online at www.ulmerfh.com. Contributions may be made to the Patriot Guard in care of Ulmer Funeral Home. Arrangements are under the direction and care of Ulmer Funeral Home.