Our loss is Heaven’s gain

Published 5:57 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

If you ever had the opportunity to be in the company of Linda Meeks, you are better off for that encounter.

Her always chipper “can-do” attitude, infectious laugh, witty sense of humor, and trademark sly smile had the ability to turn a drab day into a glorious one just by being in her presence.

There was another side of Linda that some took notice. She could also take on the role as a stern, deliberative individual. If there was something on her mind, she didn’t mince words….what came up from her soul was uttered through her lips. I should know this well as I, on many occasions, have been on the receiving end of one of her lessons of life, both face-to-face and on the telephone. Her advice was always “spot-on”…..so much to the point where I felt she served in the role as my big sister, especially after 2012 when I lost my natural-born sibling.

And while on the subject of extended family – “blood kin” or otherwise – Linda was blessed with a fairly large clan, to include all the children she cared for in her home – my daughter, Danielle, was included in that group – while their parents worked, as well as all the male athletes her husband, Wayne, coached in Pony League and American Legion baseball. She would often refer to those kids as her own.

Linda’s bright smile would greet those visiting the concession stand at home American Legion games. Even if you were not hungry, she would talk you in to buying something….all in an effort to help generate the funds it takes to operate this summer league.

Shortly after 3 p.m. this past Sunday afternoon, Linda Baker Meeks went to be with her Lord and Savior. She died at her home just outside of Ahoskie, surrounded by those she loved and who loved her right back. My heart aches for Wayne; her daughters (who are like family to me) Missy, Allyson, and Toni; her siblings, Billy Baker, Mary Lou Byrum, and Nancy Conner; her nine grandchildren, and other close relatives.

But deep down, what hurts the most about Linda’s passing is she drew her last breath not knowing who murdered her mother. Ruby Martin Baker, an 85-year-old widow living by herself in Ahoskie, was shot and killed by an intruder in the early morning hours of March 2, 2014. As of this writing, the identity of the killer remains a mystery.

Despite losing her mother under such tragic circumstances, Linda stood tall and was extremely vocal in the search for the person responsible for ending the life of such a sweet, loving lady. Several prayer vigils were held to bring awareness to this criminal case and the search for the killer.

At a press conference conducted by the Ahoskie Police Department in April of 2017, it was extremely evident that Linda wanted this sad and antagonizing part of her life – and her family’s life – to come to a conclusion.

“I would love to see this over with,” Meeks was quoted as saying in a newspaper article about the press conference.

Guided by the love Ruby Baker had for her Lord and Savior – something she passed along to her children and grandchildren – Linda closed the press conference with a powerful message for the person responsible for taking her mother’s life.

“That person may have shot and killed my mama, but they still didn’t win because my mama is in Heaven,” Meeks stressed. “If that person is arrested and I get a chance to talk to them, I’m going to tell them to get their soul right with God so they can go to heaven. There, the first person to greet them will be my mama, and she will open her arms and say, come on in, I love you.”

Imagine the reunion going on in Heaven right now with Linda, her mom, and her dad. We lost an angel on Sunday, but Heaven gained one. Rest in Peace my friend.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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