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My Friend Ed Meek
The first state agronomist I met in my life was a Mr. Paul Bebermeyer. This would be back in the early forties; He also served as part time boy scout leader. He was a great civic leader. When he retired the state sent us Alex Gates. WOW. Everybody fell in love with the guy; tall, good looking and friendly, but time marches on and Alex either retired or was transferred.
Now, the state sends us Ed Meek. Ed is more the quiet type, but every bit as intelligent and helpful. Ed quickly became a friend to every farmer in the county and beyond.
Ed was a veteran of World War II. He served as a navigator on a B-25 Mitchell Bomber and made countless missions over enemy territory. Ed was discharged in 1946 as a Captain in the Army Air Force.
So, Ed quickly became a favorite. Some would stop by just to visit as well as pickup information about farming. I would stop by his office just to chit chat once in a while and at times hook up with him at coffee break.
Ed liked to get out in the fields and meadows once in a while and experience his job in person. He had a love of trees and had great knowledge about them. I can remember his sorrow for the loss of our elms.
So, comes time for Ed to retire. Ed just suddenly moves to Memphis, MO. He told me later it was the only way he was going to get any peace since people kept calling his home for advice. Well, moving away did not help that much so when the Citizens Bank of Edina offered him a job as public relations and farm advisor. Ed took it and worked out of the bank. So, it was my grandson and I would stop by and visit and get advice on selected subjects.
Then, Ed got cancer and stayed close to home. I and others took turns driving him to Quincy, IL for treatment. I remember on this one trip; I drove him around Quincy looking at various huge trees. I remember him saying that this one walnut was the largest he had ever seen. One time we drove thru the old Lima lake swamp area. At one time the Lima lake covered hundreds of acres of land and was host to fish, clams, ducks, frogs, turtles, etc. Then the Corp of Engineers drained it and canaled it, turning it into rich bottom land. We took the ferry across the Mississippi to Canton, MO. This was Ed’s first trip on the ferry.
Ed had 3 boys and when I heard all were home, I knew my friend was in trouble. I would soon learn Ed had died. I was honored to be a pall bearer at his funeral. My daughter planted two eternal flowers on his grave, a surprise lily and a Peony so his grave will ever be decorated. Ed Meek, a small statured man, but a giant among men.
Contributed by Bill Lewis