Mary Eugenia "Jean" Meeks, 84, a pioneer in social work and mental health, passed away on Jan. 16. She was a lifelong resident of Gainesville.
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Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at Alta Vista Cemetery.
The Rev. Wendy Cordova will officiate. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Friday from 5-7 p.m.
Jean was much beloved by her family and friends, including sister Marjorie Perrine; brothers, Littleton Meeks and Nathan Burgen; former sister-in-law, Bennie S. Larj; nephews, Marshall, Fleming and Marion Meeks; niece and nephew, Thomas and Angela Perrine; and her special friends, Bonnie Lord, Paula Lord and Sheree Moore.
Jean was born in Gainesville in 1928, and lived at 213 Brenau Ave., from 1929 until her death. She graduated from Brenau College in 1949, and earned a Master's in Social Work from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1952. Returning to Gainesville, she worked for the Red Cross. In the mid-1960s, she started the Hall County Mental Health Center, the first mental health center in the state of Georgia. She continued to work in public health and social work until she retired in 1988.
Jean was a marvelous storyteller with an uncanny ability to recall the smallest details of growing up in Gainesville, of her mother, Ione Tumlin Meeks, father, Dr. Jesse Littleton Meeks, and of Sunday dinners at her grandfather Francis Marion Tumlin's Gainesville farm.
She loved to tell stories about her childhood, like the time that she rode her pony up to the counter of Ledford's Drug Store on the Square and asked for a Coca-Cola. She delighted in telling stories about her family, especially her nephews, always with a deep and abiding love.
Jean loved to travel, taking annual trips to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl with Nathan Burgen for decades. Her favorite restaurants in that city were Brennan's, Antoine's and Commander's Palace. She and Nathan also traveled to Israel, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Egypt.
Jean had much love in her heart. Everyone who ever met her was touched by her charm and generosity of spirit.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the American Red Cross of Gainesville and Hall County, 675 White Sulfur Road, Suite 230, P.O. Box 3370, Gainesville, GA 30503.
Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel, 989 Riverside Drive, Gainesville, GA 30501, 770-297-6200.
Online condolences may be made at memorialparkfunerals.com.
Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel, Gainesville
Memorial Park North Riverside Chapel
989 Riverside Drive
Gainesville, GA 30501
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on Jan. 18, 2013