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Funeral services for Coach Joseph Earl Meeks, 86, of Rayville, LA were held at 2:00 PM, Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Joe Meeks Football Field, Rayville, LA with Pastor Denny Duron and Bro. John Cleveland officiating. Interment followed in the Stevenson Cemetery, Rayville, LA under the direction of Brown-Holley Funeral Home, Rayville, LA.
Coach Joe was born March 6, 1933 in Rayville, LA and passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family.
Coach Joe was a member of the Boeuf River Baptist Church of Rayville where he was a deacon and led the choir for many years. He coached football and baseball for 42 years. He is preceded in death by his parents, Jesse and Eula Meeks; two brothers and six sisters.
Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Laverne Meeks of Rayville, LA; children, Richard Earl Meeks and wife Debbie of Gilmer,TX, Kenneth Marshall Meeks and wife, Zoe of Shreveport, LA, and Jolynn Meeks and John Fernandini of Tampa, FL; grandchildren, Bo Meeks and wife, Robin, Sonia Burleson and husband, Jeremy, Pat Roberts and husband, Jason, Jesse Hill and husband, Matt, Ricky Joe Meeks and wife, Lacey, Neal Papin, and Jennifer Papin; 13-great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A graduate of Rayville High School, Joe followed the love of his life, Laverne Grantham to Nederland, TX where her father had been transferred by Sun Oil Company. After they married, Joe served in the army at Fort Benning, GA. In service to his country, or maybe for the extra $50 per month, he joined the paratroopers.
After serving in the military, Joe became a grocer and a farmer. At the age of 34 he enrolled in college at NLU to follow his passions: coaching and kids. Upon graduation Joe was hired to be head coach at Riverfield Academy in Rayville, LA where he started the football and baseball programs that have continued with great success for almost fifty years.
After some 280 football victories, two football and three baseball championships, and thousands of young lives shaped, Coach retired to his beloved “River Hill” less than a hundred yards from where he was born and raised. On May 3, 2019, Coach left that “River Hill” the only way he said he would ever leave it again. Feet first.
Pallbearers were Matt Middleton, George Bearfield, Donnie Foster, Mark Johnston, Stuart King, Mike Adcock, Stephen Hampton, and Ridge Heisler.
Honorary pallbearers were Daryle Daye and Scott Wilcher.