Mary L. Meeks, 79, of Ottawa, passed away Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, at Olathe Medical Center, Olathe, Kansas.

Reading of the rosary will be conducted at 9:45 a.m. Friday, Dec. 28, 2018, at Dengel & Son Mortuary followed by a funeral service at 10 a.m. She will be laid to rest in the Garnett Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions to Hope House c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas 66067. Family and friends are encouraged to post their condolences and stories on Mary’s Tribute Wall at

Mary was born on Monday, May 15, 1939, in Garnett, Kansas, the daughter of Joseph Lawrence and Bertha Jane (Maley) Nilges. She graduated from Garnett High School with the class of 1957 and attended St. Margaret’s School of Nursing and Donnelly College, both in Kansas City, Kansas. She worked as a nurse for Dr. Christian in Kansas City, Kansas.

On Dec. 26, 1959, Mary was united in marriage to Martin LaDell Meeks in Emerald, Kansas. Their 10-year marriage produced two sons, Jim and Kurt, prior to their divorce. He preceded her in death on Oct. 16, 2007.

Mary moved to Ottawa in 1964. She worked as a dental assistant for 16 years for Dr. Sammy Lyman, DDS, and his father in Ottawa. She worked several positions for ECKAN, serving as the Franklin County Coordinator prior to retiring in 1985. She loved being an advocate for people in need and enjoyed community service. She cherished relationships with relatives, friends and their children.

Mary attended Catholic churches in the communities, including the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Emerald, Kansas, and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ottawa, Kansas. In her youth, she taught Catechism and enjoyed playing the piano, organ, and accordion for church and social events.

She was also preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Bertha Nilges and brother, James G. Nilges.

Mary is survived by her sons, Jim Meeks and wife, Charise, of Georgetown, Texas; and Kurt Meeks and wife, Laurie, of Olathe, Kansas; sister, Elizabeth Patton of Omaha, Nebraska; sister-in-law, Grace Nilges of Ottawa; grandchildren, Grant Meeks, Caleb Meeks and Kylie Meeks; step-granddaughter, Savannah; and several nieces and nephews.