Fern Baker Meek
Fern Baker Meek, 102, of Lee’s Summit passed away Dec. 15, 2013 at St. Mary’s Manor, Blue Springs, Mo.
Fern lived most of her early life in Coffey Co., Kan. After Graduating from Lebo High School at the age of 16, she taught for two years in Coffey County rural schools. Fern then graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in physical education, having had Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, for a kinesiology professor. After college, she taught in Salina and Neodesha, Kan.
Fern and John were married in 1937 and lived in Burlington, Independence, Topeka and Fairway, Kan. During that time, her primary occupation was that of wife, mother, and homemaker. When her daughters were nearly grown, she returned to the education field, teaching at Washburn Rural High School and Topeka and Stanley, Kan. schools.
After John’s death, Fern returned to college and received a master’s degree in library science from Emporia State University. She was the first librarian of Longview Community College, Lee’s Summit, building and organizing the college library from a beginning collection of only 3,000 books. Her second career choice as a librarian was a natural one, given that throughout Fern’s life, books and reading were one of her great passions.
After her retirement, Fern remained in Lee’s Summit, where she continued with her love of gardening, was active in water aerobics and golf, and served as a volunteer at the Lee’s Summit Hospital gift shop well into her 90’s. She became a world traveler, visiting such diverse locations as Western Europe and Britain, Turkey, Ukraine, the Canary Islands, Canada and Panama.
Fern was preceded in death by her husband, John A. Meek, Jr; parents, Jim and Mollie Baker; brothers Wm. Oscar Baker, Elmer Baker and Roy Baker and sister Ruth “Toots” Baker.
Survivors include daughters Judy Whaley, Lee’s Summit, and Patsy (Wood) Svarvari, McKinleyville, Calif.; grandchildren Susan (Scott) Takach, Malden, Mnd.; Jeff Rosetta, Lee’s Summit; Rick Rosetta, Salt Lake City, Utah; Ward (Erin) Svarvari, Prairie Village, Kan.; Audrey (Brian) Merryman, Larkspur, Colo. and Susannah (Martin) Snider, Tomball, Texas; five great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be 11 a.m., Jan. 18, 2014 at the Lee’s Summit United Methodist Church, Lee’s Summit, with burial in Strawn Cemetery, Hartford, Kan.
Memorial contributions may be made to Wayside Waifs, Inc., 3901 Martha Truman Road, Kansas City, Mo., 64137 or the Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, Neb., 68410.
(Arrangements by Langsford Funeral Home, 115 SW 3rd Street, Lee’s Summit, Mo. 64063.)