Cover photo for Carol Sue Meeks's Obituary
Carol Sue Meeks Profile Photo
1939 Carol 2024

Carol Sue Meeks

September 4, 1939 — May 3, 2024

Indianapolis, IN

Carol Sommer Meeks passed away on May 3, 2024 from injuries sustained in a fall at her Indianapolis home. She was born on September 4, 1939 to Alva and Mirel Smiley Sommer in the family farm home near the village of Salamonia, Jay County, Indiana. In 1949, the Sommer family relocated to a 48-acre farm they purchased in nearby Randolph County which had been in continuous ownership of Smiley ancestors since 1838. Carol graduated from Ward Township High School in 1957 and, in 1961, received a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Purdue University. She was an enthusiastic lifetime supporter of her beloved Boilermakers and their athletic teams.

Carol is survived by her husband of 62 years, Jon Meeks, sons Anthony, Indianapolis, and Timothy (Kelly), Auburn AL, granddaughter Addison Meeks Aldred (Hunter), Auburn AL, and sister Sylvia (Jack), Lafayette IN. She was preceded in death by sister Judy (Richard) and brother Tom (Patsy). Carol and Jon are 57-year members of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Indianapolis.

Carol’s first employment after college was in management with the former L.S. Ayres and Co. Tea Room, Indianapolis. She later served as a home economist with Indianapolis Power and Light Co., now known as AES Indiana. She became prominently known for 35 years of service as an historic textile specialist with Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. On occasion, she appeared in historic costume in the park portraying a character relevant to daily village life of 1836 Indiana. She frequently appeared in period costume while promoting the Conner Prairie story line to historic preservation interest groups in numerous Indiana locations. Carol maintained passionate interest in a variety of topics: history, nature, wildlife, community and the family’s pets, especially cats. She was particularly active with the Indiana State Fair missing in attendance only one year from 1950 to 2023. She served as a foods and textile judge at county fairs across Indiana and at the State Fair. She was director of the Indiana State Fair Girls’ School several years during the 1970s and 1980s. She was employed from 1995 to 2018 as coordinator of Adult Non-Professional Fine Arts and Youth Art in the Indiana Arts Building.

Carol and her husband acquired the 48-acre Randolph County farm from her father in 1994 as their potential retirement location. The farm was registered as a Hoosier Homestead Farm given its 160-year continuous ownership lineage among Smiley family descendants. Carol and her family maintained their Indianapolis residency while visiting the farm one or two weekends each month. The visits to the farm presented Carol with cherished opportunities to stroll among flower gardens surrounding the farmhouse which were established by her mother in earlier times. An equally rewarding journey of beauty included a walk in the woods at the back of the property which was populated by wildflowers, wildlife and mature shade trees. The wooded location has been used for family reunions and gathering for well over 100 years. And, of absolute importance to Carol, no visit to the farm would be complete without a search of the out-buildings for a new arrival of kittens or, of even more significance, the abandonment of a helpless kitten along the nearby roadway. The vast number of rescued kitties who have been transported to Indianapolis for Carol’s adoptive placement arrangement has been lost in time. Not surprising, an unknown number of kitties have taken up residence in the Meeks’ family home over the years.

Carol’s visionary leadership was instrumental in the structural restoration of a former one-room school building located in northern Randolph County. In 2014, she co-founded the Friends of Ward Township District No. 5 School, a nonprofit corporation created to facilitate the building’s preservation and restoration. The school building, one of a few such structures remaining in the county, was open from 1890 to 1911 but vacant thereafter. Restoration was completed in 2021 and now provides the opportunity for visiting elementary school students to experience educational practices of the one-room school era. District No. 5 School is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Carol is widely remembered for her uncanny ability to deliver family history stories and local folklore. She could quickly capture the attention of large gatherings the moment it was evident she was about to deliver another entertaining tale. She particularly enjoyed sharing and embellishing the story of a few local folklore adherents that, in the early 1800s, Tecumseh and his followers most certainly would have traveled the banks of the Mississinewa River just a quarter mile north of the 48-acre farm.

Carol will be most significantly remembered for her love of God and family. She will be greatly missed!

A Celebration of Life service to honor Carol will be held at 2:00 pm, Tuesday, June 18, at "The Bluffs at Conner Prairie," 13080 Allisonville Road, Fishers, IN. 

In lieu of flowers, the family will gratefully appreciate charitable donation to either:
- Friends of Ward Township District No. 5 School, Randolph County, Indiana, Inc., P.O. Box 172, Winchester, IN 47394
- Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, 13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers, IN 46038
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Carol Sue Meeks, please visit our flower store.

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