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LAKE WYLIE --
Bob Meeker wasnt shy about lending a hand where it was needed. Or letting out a dog, or driving a friend to the doctor. Meeker lived a life dedicated to helping others, a life that ended Oct. 13 at age 94.
Meeker moved to River Hills in 1977 to continue a career that included posts with contracting and fabric companies. He participated with River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS and was once treasurer of the neighborhood community association. He was best known for the Helping Hands program he ran for many years through River Hills Lions Club, running errands and offering rides to anyone in need.
Frank Van Leer, fellow long-time Lion and group president, describes Meeker as a well-loved man who went about helping others without regard for attention.
Top shelf, Van Leer said. He was the epitome of what a Lion should be quiet, loving service without making a big deal out of it.
Mary Ann Robinson was a friend through the Lions and River Hills Community Church. She compiled Meekers work through the years for his memorial service held last week. Meeker was a Lion since 1978, juvenile diabetes committee chair, eye-tester, Clover Caring Center volunteer, Christmas tree seller and, most notably, a leader for more than a decade at Helping Hands. Meeker received a lifetime achievement award from the club in December.
Robinson remembers a man who must have had 50 keys to neighborhood homes for all the times he offered to watch pets or mailboxes while neighbors were away. He also was a man who never once cooked a meal for himself in more than a dozen years after his wife, Gretchen, died.
All the women of the neighborhood have kept his refrigerator full for all these years, Robinson said.
Meeker kept a gardening plot in the community and repaid that kindness with fresh vegetables he knew his neighbors enjoyed most. Robinson felt like she was receiving special attention with all the tomatoes she received, until one delivery when she looked and saw hundreds of tomatoes in the back seat.
I was one of many thousands of his favorite people, she said.
Meeker was a Navy veteran of World War II and a corporate executive. He loved golf and tennis late into his life, and cherished his neighbors. Even at age 90, the Minneapolis native led Helping Hands and spent time enlisting others to participate. He described the surprise on many faces when an elderly neighbor realized his or her ride to the doctor was older than the patient. He talked about how important it is to help someone after the loss of a spouse with the mountain of paperwork, something he learned himself.
Theyre completely lost and theyre in a bad position when they lose a spouse, he said.
Meeker most recently lived at a facility in Rock Hill, but his 35 years in River Hills are what will define him for the neighbors who remain.
He was always to be depended upon for anything that anybody needed, said long-time friend Jane Chislett.