December 23, 1930 ~ February 5, 2024 (age 93)
Ben was born December 23, 1930, in Stephenville, Texas, to parents Benjamin F. Meek and Sarah L. Winters Meek. He passed away at the age of 93 on February 5, 2024, after a brief battle with cancer.
Ben lived almost all his life in southwest Texas, attending public schools in Kermit, where his father was the first superintendent, and graduating from high school there. He excelled as a tennis player, advancing to the state finals his senior year, and as a dancer of the swing and the jitterbug, performing a dance exhibition with his partner at their senior prom.
After high school, Ben attended New Mexico Military Institute and then the University of Texas, where he met the beautiful and bright Frances McCullough, love of his life and dear wife and companion for the next 58 years. He began active service in combat in Korea in January of 1953 as a proud Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He remained in Korea after the war’s end in July and earned promotion to Commanding Officer of “Charlie” Battery of the 981st Field Artillery Battalion. He returned to the States in June of 1954, meeting his baby daughter, Sally, for the first time.
Ben and family soon returned to Kermit, where he joined his father in operating a Ford dealership. By 1963, daughterMary Ella and son Ben III had joined the family and Ben had bought the GM dealership in Pecos. He spent the rest of his 40-year business career selling cars all over west Texas and serving the First Baptist Church of Pecos as a deacon, choir member, and Sunday School teacher. Ben served the Pecos community as a member of the Rotary Club, school board member, and school board president. He and Fran sponsored and produced the Golden Girl of the Old West Pageant for more than a decade, helping young women gain confidence and poise.
Ben always enjoyed an active life, routinely competing with his friends and family at tennis, table tennis, cornhole, and golf. His golf outings were known to be painful for his opponents, whom he subjected to benignly ridiculous insults from tee to green. He loved music — having played trumpet in high school — and dancing, often twirling his daughters around the room to Benny Goodman hits. He was an avid hunter and marksman, proficient with pistol, rifle, and shotgun. He and his children spent many happy hours shooting bottles and hunting deer, coyotes, and varmints together.
Ben loved cars, photography, military history, western American lore, and the novels of Louis Lamour. He especially loved the history of southwest Texas, whose cattle trails, river crossings, watering holes, and springs he knew well. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his delighted companions in imaginary frontier adventures and historical reenactments in the mountains. His love of the region shines through every page of the romantic western novel he wrote in retirement. Though never published, it is cherished by his family.
He loved to make strangers laugh, to whistle in public places, and to be with his extended family. He loved studying the Bible and teaching Sunday School, which he did for almost 50 years.
Ben was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, FrancesMcCullough, and is survived by his three children: Sarah Dynis(Nick), Mary Ella Cummings (Thomas), and Ben Meek III (Kathleen Foster); and his grandchildren: Conrad Bullock, Zachary Bullock (Maria Mabra), and Anna Bullock Cochran (Josh), Deana Dynis, and Kelly Dynis. He is also survived by four great-granddaughters whom he loved dearly: Claire Cochran, Julianna Cochran, Mary Ella Frances Cochran, and Landry Harrell.
His funeral will be held on Friday, February 16, 2024, at the Stephenville (TX) Funeral Home with visitation at noon and service to begin at 1:00 p.m. A memorial service will also be held at the First Baptist Church of Pecos, Texas, on Sunday, February 18, 2024, at 3:00 p.m.
Contributions in Ben’s honor may be made to First Baptist Church of Pecos; Bloys Campmeeting Association; Samaritan’s Purse; or the West of the Pecos Museum.