Ms. Catherine “Kitty” Claire Campbell Meeks, 89, passed away Sunday, July 31, 2016, at her home in Titusville, Fla., surrounded by her family.
She was born in Brunswick on May 24, 1927, to Frank Hammond Campbell and Sue Florence Brown Campbell. She was an only child. Catherine (later known as Miss Kitty) attended Glynn Academy in Brunswick and enjoyed movies, swimming, softball, tennis, swimming, bicycling and dancing under the stars at the St. Simons pier.
During World War II, Catherine worked as a switchboard operator in Brunswick. At the end of WWII, Catherine met Carl Meeks who was home on leave after his ship was sunk in the Pacific. They married on Feb. 5, 1945, and were married 62 years until Carl’s death in 2007. Carl and Catherine spent time in Corpus Christi, Texas, where Carl completed his naval duties.
From Corpus Christi, Carl and Catherine returned to Brunswick where Carl worked at Hercules Paper Company and the railroad. He also sold Fuller brushes for a while.
Along that time, young Carl and Catherine (Kitty) were blessed with their first child, Adrian. Kitty had dreamed of naming a son after the Sterling Hayden character Adrian in the movie “Bahama Passage” and she got her wish. She was thrilled to be a mother for the first time. In 1950, in the same hospital where Kitty and Adrian were born, Carl and Kitty had their first daughter, Saundra.
Searching for improved career opportunities, Carl took his young family to Norfolk, Va., for a short time. But then, as Kitty tells us, “the fish were biting in Brunswick,” so back they went. Carl attended business college and, shortly afterward, a payroll master position opened up at Gilman Paper Company in a sleepy town called St. Marys, and the couple spent the next 50 years there.
While living on Bailey Street, Kitty gave birth to their second son, Steve. At that time, Kitty went to work at Kraft Bag Corporation where she worked for 15 years. Miss Thelma Albertie came into the home to provide child care for the three kids. And then in 1961, the baby of the clan was born — a beautiful little girl, Carla Michelle.
Five years later, Kitty retired from her work at Kraft Bag. She joined the St. Marys Junior Woman’s Club, which she enjoyed immensely and in 1964 was awarded Clubwoman of the Year.
As the years went by, her four loving children honored her with 10 loving grandchildren and those grandchildren blessed her with, at the latest count, nine great-grandchildren. She had really earned her ultimate title as “Mama Kitty” and she couldn’t love the role any more than she did.
Carl and Kitty enjoyed being active in their church. They were members of First Baptist and Westside Baptist Church in St. Marys. Kitty enjoyed doing her part to help the church, singing in the choir and taking care of the children in the nursery. Kitty was fun-loving and a true Christian.
When Carl retired from the mill, he and Kitty enjoyed seeing the USA in their camper. Kitty had a new four-legged “child” to care for — a miniature Schnauzer named Penny. Kitty and Carl traveled the USA far and wide with Penny by their side.
When the long-distance travels were behind them, it was time for Carl to fish another river, so Carl and Kitty took their camper to the St. Johns River at Lake George, Fla. In 2005, Kitty and Carl sold their camper and home in St. Marys and moved a little north of Lake George to Welaka, Fla., where, in 2007, Carl fished his last days.
As a widow, Kitty stayed in Welaka enjoying the Welaka Women’s Club and supporting the First Baptist Church of Welaka. In 2010, when her daughter, Saundra and son-in law Erol moved from south Florida to Titusville, Kitty spent a good deal of time visiting them there, and eventually, she stayed in Titusville only visiting her home in Welaka for monthly Welaka Women’s Club meetings.
Kitty loved living on the Indian River in Titusville and enjoyed the wildlife that visited there — dolphins, ospreys, jumping mullet, herons. She saw and heard the rumble of space shuttle launches and her traveling days started all over again. With her children, she traveled to Niagara Falls, Maine, Hawaii, New York City, Dallas, the Smoky Mountains, Austin, Charleston, Nashville and she marveled at the giant redwoods of California.
There are many mamas, grandmamas and great-grandmamas, but once in a great while, a very special lady comes along who really sums up what a gracious, loving, giving, mother means. If you ever had the good fortune to meet and get to know Catherine Claire Campbell Meeks (Kitty, Mama Kitty, Grandmama Kitty, Great-Grandmama Kitty), there is no doubt you will consider yourself truly blessed. She gently sprinkled love, fun, generosity, charity and courage in the most selfless and gracious way. There is another angel in Heaven today and we are fortunate/blessed/privileged to have had her with us for 89 sweet years. We love you, Miss Kitty! You will be sorely missed!
Ms. Meeks is survived by her daughters, Saundra (Erol) Ozan of Titusville and Carla M. Deeds of Jacksonville, Fla.; her sons, Adrian (Carol) Meeks of Kingsland and Stephen (Karen) Meeks of St. Marys; her grandchildren, Tina (Billy) Cochran, Richard (Kim) Meeks, Dan Meeks, Matthew (Jennifer) Meeks, Michael (Heidi) Powell, Kurt Ozan, Brian (Maria) Deeds, Jessica (Chris) Campbell, Travis (Jessica) Meeks, Whitney (Jason) Carney; and her great-grandchildren, Tyler Powell, Shelby Powell, Bobby Meeks, Camden Meeks, Aimee Deeds, Joseph Cochran, Hannah Cochran, Tyler Meeks and Adam Meeks.
Besides her parents, Ms. Meeks was preceded in passing by her beloved husband, Carl M. Meeks, in 2007.
Calling hours for Ms. Meeks will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, at Coastal Camden Funeral Home, 935 East King Ave. in Kingsland. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, at Coastal Camden Funeral Home. Interment will follow the service at Oak Grove Cemetery in St. Marys. Pallbearers will be Dan Meeks, Matthew Meeks, Richard Meeks, Travis Meeks, Michael Powell, Kurt Ozan and Brian Deeds. Honorary pallbearers will be Harold (Dinky) Harvey, Hank Brooks, Joe Welsh, Richard (Dick) Carrell and Don Hinton.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made in Ms. Meeks’ name to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or to the American Heart Association.
Coastal Camden Funeral Home in Kingsland is entrusted with Ms. Meeks’ arrangements.