Ira Preston Meeks
CENTRALIA, WA — 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, South Carolina, 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 Karamusel, Turkey where he was a member of the base football team. He completed his four and a half years of service in Minot, North Dakota. 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. Preston graduated from Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in business. At Lander he 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. He subsequently pursued a Masters in Business Administration from the Citadel in Charleston, SC. Preston lived in Monck’s Corner, SC until his career with Albany International led the family to Olympia, Washington 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, Washington.
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. Preston was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his wife Linda, siblings Polly (Tommy) Foster of Chester, SC, Lamar Meeks of Laurens, SC, and Lanny (Amy) Meeks of Hodges, SC, and his three children Matt (Tamera) Meeks of Bellevue, WA, Melissa (Benjamin) Varick of Chehalis, WA and Whitney (Robert) Law of Seattle, WA and their families. At his request Preston’s remains will be scattered by the family near Arch Cape, Oregon, where he enjoyed time with family in recent years.