James O. “Jim” Meeks

January 18, 1929 - February 4, 2024

Captain James O. “Jim” Meeks of Nederland, Texas, went to be with the Lord on February 4, 2024, at the age of 95.

Captain Meeks was born January 18, 1929, in Akron, Ohio into a family of three brothers and two sisters.  The family moved to Hampton, Georgia where he graduated from Hampton High School.  After graduation, he went to Paris Island, South Carolina and joined the United States Marines where he served one tour of duty.  At the age of 21, he joined the Masonic Lodge and served a year in the National Guard.  In 1947, Jim joined the Merchant Marines.  It was his love of water and his thirst for knowledge that led him to the maritime industry – which would ultimately become his lifetime passion.  He was a pillar in the maritime industry for nearly 50 years. He was a Merchant Marine until 1967 and then became a Ship Master with an unlimited tonnage license.  In 1970, he became a Sabine Pilot for the next 23 years.  He was hardworking, smart, and very confident.  Captain Meeks was extremely knowledgeable as he loved to read and enjoyed spending time in the ship’s Joseph Pulitzer’s Library.   His mind was sharp and he retained it all.

Jim was charismatic and it was his charm that captured the love of his life, Ruth Meeks.  They married in 1954 and had an amazing life together for 68 years.  He was a devoted husband and father and loved spending time with his family.   He and his family enjoyed yearly vacations, mostly by the water, where he taught his entire family to water ski.  Jim really enjoyed playing cards with his family. He also loved card tricks and would often phone “the wizard.”  Jim was a dedicated family man; he was a devoted husband and father who provided well for his family.   As much honor as Jim took in being “Captain Meeks,” in his later years he loved his role of just being “Pop.” One of his favorite things to say to his granddaughters was “If you need something, call Pop” – and he meant it.

Jim had a creative mind and an entrepreneurial spirit.  He started acquiring cars, real estate, coins, sports memorabilia, and antiques – his interests were diverse. But one thing is for sure – Jim could sell just about anything. He loved making the rounds and making phone calls asking “Whatcha got on the burner?”

He loved his fellow man and always said the world was good to him and he was good to the world. He loved music and he loved to dance and took pride in sharing that love – and his incredible dancing skills – with his wife Ruth. His other love was football.  If you were looking for Jim on Saturday or Sunday, he was watching football.

Above all else, it is Captain Meeks’ character that will be remembered the most. Jim was kind, generous, and he never met a stranger.  One of his favorite song verses represents his lifelong optimistic attitude – “Don’t know what’s comin’ tomorrow.  Maybe it’s trouble and sorrow. But we’ll travel the road, sharin’ our load. Side by Side.” He was quick witted, always had a comeback, and his one-liners kept his friends and family laughing.  His laugh was infectious and will be deeply missed. He loved sharing his life experiences, sharing his knowledge and wisdom and giving advice to those around him. Jim always said, “the best way to get out of trouble is to not get in it.”

The world will forever be changed by his absence. Jim never complained and was grateful for a long, wonderful life and all the blessings that came with it.   He will forever be remembered as a kind, generous, loving soul.   If you could measure a man’s wealth by the number of his friends, he was a very rich man.

Jim is survived by his loving children, Steve Meeks, Mike Meeks, and Terri Varner; grandchildren, Katie Meeks, Lauren Wilson and husband, Bo Wilson; great granddaughter, Evelyn Wilson, and many other friends and family.  He is preceded in death by his loving and devoted wife, Ruth Meeks, and his son-in-law, William T. Varner, MD.

A celebration of life with family and friends will be held at Nederland Apostolic Church, 1308 S. 27th Street, Nederland, Texas 77627, on Sunday, February 18, 2024, from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the charity of your choice.


Celebration of Life

Nederland Apostolic Church
  • 1308, South 27th Street, Nederland, Texas, 77627,
  • February 18, 2024
  • 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Comments (5)

    Debi Landrum Lauret says:

    Steve, Mike, and Terri, you have my deepest condolences on the passing of your dad. He, your mom, and all of you were great family friends in our younger years. We had lots of fun water skiing in both the ship channel and in Arkansas. Those memories will never be forgotten.

    I am sure your mom was waiting and welcomed your dad with open arms. May they both rest in sweet peace. All our love coming your way.

    Leigh Landrum says:

    What beautiful memeories of your dad.

    Wayne Mouton says:

    I will always remember Captain Meeks. It was always exciting an interesting to visit with him. We became friends with him an his family in the early 90’s when I found out he was Ship Captain. Myself being in the Marine Industry we always had something to talk about and he made all the stories a lot of fun! He helped us in purchasing our home an always had great advice to give.. My wife Vicki an entire family were very blessed to have him, Ruth an his family as friends.

    Thomas & Donna Qualls says:

    He was a deer friend from the moment we meet everything I read was true and on point he never meet a stranger and we laughed a lot I miss the morning phone calls .

    Steven Cutaia says:

    Steve, Mike, and Terri. I smiled the entire time I was reading your father’s obituary. He was everything the person that was described and more. I can still remember when we were kids playing around your home and your father always joking around with us. He treated us as kids when we needed to be, but treated us as adults when that was needed. He will be missed by me. What a wonderful man he was. I lost my wife, Sylvia (Burnfin, the librarian) 12 weeks ago, so I can relate to your sense of grief. Know that he will be in my prayers as will all of you and the family. Steve Cutaia.

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