Mary (Meeks) Long passed away on March 13, 2021, with her loving family at her side. She was born on January 9, 1932, in Gamaliel, Arkansas, to John Franklin Meeks and Zora Lee (Strain) Meeks. She was the youngest of 6 children.
On January 1, 1940, the family moved to Paso Robles. Her dad worked for Slate Almond Plant and the County of San Luis Obispo, and her mother worked at the War Memorial Hospital. She attended schools in Paso Robles and was a member of the Paso Robles High School graduating class of 1950. At age 13, she began working as a waitress at the 101 Café, where she met and later married Bill Long. They had three children, Belinda, Gwendolyn, and James. Bill was in the oilfield business, and it was during this time that the family lived in various cities all over California, including San Ardo, Coalinga, Avenal, Santa Paula, San Leandro, Chula Vista, Bakersfield, and Oildale, often only staying one day, then moving on to the next field, but her beloved Paso Robles was always home. In 1959, the family moved to Kenai, Alaska, driving non-stop on the Alcan Highway when it was still an all-gravel road. In 1960, they traveled that same highway to California in the dead of winter, so cold the surroundings were blue. In 1962 they bought a home in Sherwood Acres and became one of the “Sherwood Acres Families.” Mary worked as a waitress at the Paso Robles Country Club and from 1962 -1968 at Ennis Business Forms. In 1968, the family moved to Australia for a year. Later she and Bill traveled with his work and lived in Scotland, Iran, Sicily, and Africa, just to name a few. Mary relished the adventure, meeting new people and seeing new things.
Mary had a passion for living and, through the years, was quite the fashionista. Her granddaughters would always say, “You be stylin’, Grandma!” Mary was a great cook, and you would never leave her house hungry. There are so many fun memories, including going to the car races in Atascadero, stopping by Wayside to get a big stick popsicle on the way to a softball game at Robbins Field, or driving miles to see a favorite country music entertainer, or just heading to Virgil’s in Atascadero for a good old hamburger, often with her dearest friend and sidekick Delores White in tow. Along the way, she made numerous life-long friends just because of her caring and fun-loving ways.
She was an avid “Bearcat” and loved to “watch those Bearcats play!” often traveling many miles on a rooter’s bus to cheer them on. She was a NASCAR fan (#48 was her driver). She loved old classic movies, the Lifetime and Hallmark channel; over the last year, she developed a fondness for Gunsmoke (although we don’t know why), loved Gospel and country music, loved to dance, and had a beautiful singing voice. She enjoyed water skiing (even in the canals in the San Joaquin Valley behind a car), fishing and camping, a great bowler, a left-handed softball player, played dominoes, pinochle, was hard to beat in a canasta game and played a mean game of Yahtzee and Triopoly.
She was a member of the Northside Church of Christ in Atascadero and a charter member of the VFW Auxiliary 10965, where she was a past president. She was always willing to go the extra mile to help people.
Mary loved and adored her family, as they did her in return. She was our rock, and her strength will carry us on by generations to come. She’ll be deeply missed by all.
She is survived by daughters Belinda (Dave) Falaschi, Gwen (Greig) Welch, granddaughters Deanna (Kelly) Pryor, Kimberly (John) Roady, Andrea (Chris) Nardella, Kelly (Eric) Mowreader, Jaime (Daniel) Schaetz, Dan Long, great-grandchildren Jorden (Tori) Welch, Grace Roady, Taylor King, Vanessa Mowreader, Devin Mowreader, Hayden Roady, and great-great-granddaughter Raileigh Welch, sister-in-law Betty Meeks, and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents John and Zora Meeks, siblings Gene, Johnna, Margie, Kenneth, and Bill, her son James (June 2012), and her husband Bill (December 2012).
Due to COVID, a private burial will be held at Paso Robles Cemetery.