Obituaries detail

John Byron Meeks

June 13, 1940 – March 14, 2021


John Byron Meeks passed away surrounded by family on March 14, 2021 in Overland Park, KS.


Byron was born in Ft. Scott, KS on June 13, 1940 to John Burgess Meeks and Jane (Lyons) Meeks. He, along with his brother Joseph Meeks, was raised on his grandparents’ farm outside Fulton, KS, as part of a large extended family, with his eight aunts and uncles as his sisters and brothers.


Byron attended Hutchinson Community College, earning an associate’s degree in business. He continued his education at Kansas State University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, ultimately graduating from Washburn University Law School in 1968.


With his law degree in hand, Byron and his wife Nancy left Topeka, KS to join a small law firm in Kinsley, KS. They put down thick roots by starting a family and becoming active members of the community. In addition to opening his own private law practice, Byron held many professional leadership roles, including Edwards County Attorney and President of the Kansas Association of Hospital Attorneys. He was appointed Chief Judge of the 24th District in 1989, a position he held for 13 ½ years. As Chief Judge, he was known to be firm but fair and widely respected for his unwavering ethics and his deep commitment to justice for all under the law. After retiring from the bench, Byron returned to private practice in Kinsley until 2008 when he and Nancy moved to Prairie Village, KS.


Spirituality was important to Byron, and he was a long-standing and an involved member of congregations in Kinsley and Kansas City.


Though he left the farm for the desk and the courtroom, Byron continued to cultivate a deep appreciation for rural life. He always felt drawn to the land, the openness of pasture, and the way a field of wheat glows in the Kansas sun. He was an avid collector of firearms, Western memorabilia, and Western and Native American art.


Byron contracted a severe case of polio at a young age and walked with crutches most of his life. Even so, he was the sturdiest person in any room, the most self-sufficient and self-possessed. People were drawn to his wisdom and wit, and friends and family gravitated toward him wherever he went. He graciously opened his arms and heart to new family members, and found immense joy with his grandchildren. He was, above all, a good, honest person who loved his family with his whole self, serving as the strong foundation upon which so many beautiful, large lives have been built. When asked if he would change anything about his life, he always responded that he could not think of a single thing.


Byron is survived by his wife of 53 years, Nancy; his sons Rowdy and Roblin; daughters-in-law Tiffany Melton Meeks and Yen Chu; former daughter-in-law Tamara Putnam; and five grandchildren: Zane, Marcus, Dylan, Mercer, and Quynh Meeks.


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center to support advances in Alzheimer’s research and treatment.



We will not be holding an open in-person memorial service. Instead, a virtual service will be held Saturday, March 20, at 2 pm at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection at Overland Park. Please join us online at:



Additional Service:
Memorial Service
United Methodist Church of the Resurrection at Overland Park
Zip Code:
Date of Service:
Mar 20 ,2021
Time of Service:
2:00 pm
Additional Information:
No Additional Information Added
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Bill Cowles Mar 17 ,2021

Friend ,Avon Lake ,Ohio

A beautifully written tribute to a man who was ever true to his ideals. Never once heard him complain. Godspeed, Judge....

Kay Everitt Mar 17 ,2021

Friend ,Overland Park ,Kansas

Nancy and Family, Byron will be missed by every member of the PIP Sunday school class. Nancy you were always such a loving care giver and I know you are missing him. My prayers to you and family. Kay

Jan Atkins Mar 17 ,2021

friend ,Roeland Park ,Kansas

Byron was a man of few words, but one always listened when he had something to say. He is one of the few people I've met who loved westerns as I do. I will miss seeing him by Nancy's side.

Marty Spencer Mar 17 ,2021

Friend ,Roeland Park ,Kansas

Please accept my deepest sympathy for this great loss to your family. Sending heartfelt sympathy to all

Sue Cavinaw Mar 17 ,2021

Friend ,Lenexa ,Kansas

Nancy, my sincere condolences to you and your family. What a remarkable life you and Byron made together. May your memories help to bring you through your grieving.

Julie Ackerman Mar 18 ,2021

Eric called me last night about Byron's death. I want to tell you that I have always admired him, as he was a very nice man and will always be remembered in Kinsley and the surrounding area for all he did while he lived here. Sorry for your loss!!!

Jason and Kim Talbot-Loewen Mar 18 ,2021

friend ,Wichita ,Kansas

So sorry to hear of the loss of your father, Rowdy. It is a sad day to lose a parent. He apparently prepared you well for life, which is the ultimately goal of any parent on this earth. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time. Jason, Kim, Myles and Kiera.

Sabrina Smith Mar 18 ,2021

I thought alot of Judge Meeks. He made me a better parent to my kids by expecting me to change some of my unfavorable behaviors back in 1995. He was a good man and a fair judge. So very sorry to hear of his passing. May God bless all of you!

John and Twylia Church Mar 18 ,2021

Friend ,Overland Park ,Kansas

We lost a good friend. I used to visit with Byron every Friday morning at breakfast, on Sundays at church, at our investment club, and at our poker group when he would pick me up. He was such a good person and had a great caring wife. We will really miss him.

John and Twylia Church Mar 18 ,2021

Friends ,Overland Park ,Kansas

Nancy and family, we are so sorry that Byron has passed. He was a wonderful person that overcame the obstacles life dealt him in such a positive way. He helped make the world a better place. He will not be forgotten.

Deb O. Martin Mar 19 ,2021

Friend ,Lenexa ,Kansas

Sending Nancy my deepest condolences as you grieve the loss of your beloved husband. Hoping joyful memories of your lifetime together give you comfort at this sad time. May your Family, especially your wonderful grandchildren, surround you with the love and support we your friends would wish to give you now.


friend ,OVERLAND PARK ,Kansas

Peggy and I convey our sympathies to your family. I was in law school with Bryon. He was a good man!

Marina Shell Mar 19 ,2021

My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

Fran Wightman Mar 20 ,2021

Friend ,Springfield ,Missouri

My prayers go out to all the family of John Byron. He was a special man. So kind every time I saw him and if Don was not with me he would always ask how’s Don. I know you all will miss a special man in your life but you have so many memories . May he and Don be discussing the Meeks boys and laughing together . Prayers to all 🙏🙏

William B & Linda S Prugh Mar 20 ,2021

Friend, fellow attorney, church member ,Overland Park ,Kansas

Byron, we will miss seeing you at Breakfast each Friday, and at church services. We extend our best wishes to you and your family. We hope to see you again.

Jim and Nancy. Dickerson Mar 20 ,2021

Friends ,Overland Park. ,Kansas

What a great loss. So sorry for your loss.

Jean Huntley Mar 22 ,2021

Friend ,KINSLEY ,Kansas

Nancy, Rowdy, & Rob, I'm sorry to hear of Byron's passing. My heartfelt sympathy to all of you. I had a lot of respect for him, and always appreciated his opinion. May you find comfort in your memories, your family & friends, and your faith.

Richelle Basgall Mar 23 ,2021

Friend ,Roeland Park ,Kansas

Hello Nancy. I loved reading John's obituary because it brought back memories of my childhood and my family in Kansas. I wish we had known each other when you both were in Kinsley but I am very glad to have met you now. I'm glad I was able to meet John even if it was briefly and late in his illness. Even then you could see he was content and happy if you looked closely at his face. My heart goes out to you and your family. Richelle