Loretta Fern “Rett” Meek, age 83, of Trowbridge, Illinois, passed away at 2:11 pm at Heartland Senior Living on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. She was born on December 3, 1937, in Neoga, Illinois, the oldest daughter of Clarence and Marie (Price) Ballinger. She married John J. Meek on September 3, 1955 at St. Patrick’s Church in Trowbridge, Illinois and they enjoyed nearly 66 years of marriage. Loretta is survived by her husband, John Meek of Trowbridge, Illinois, siblings Harold Ballinger (Peg) of Trowbridge, Illinois, Darlene Keck of East Peoria, Illinois, and Carl Ballinger (Deb) of Effingham, Illinois. She is also survived by her children Bob Meek (Marlene) of Neoga, Illinois, Ron Meek (Beverly) of Bonnie, Illinois, and Carla Doll (Jerry) of Trowbridge, Illinois; seven grandchildren including Beth Craig of Neoga, Illinois, Bill Meek (Teri) of Lebanon, Ohio, Heather Henderson (Devin) of Aldie, Virginia, Kendel Durbin (Kyle) of Indianapolis, Indiana, Bailey Barretto (Mick) of Cary, North Carolina, Erica Williamson (Jason) of Tuscola, Illinois, and Jerod Doll (Hannah) of Neoga, Illinois. She also leaves eleven great-grandchildren: Laila Henderson, Aubrey Williamson, Gabrielle Craig, Kyleigh Williamson, Weston Meek, Owen Henderson, Caleb Meek, Josephine Craig, Chloe Henderson, Genevieve Meek, and Carter Meek-Craig. Rett was proceeded in death by her parents, brother-in-law Gene Keck and niece Kerry Keck.
Rett and John owned and operated John Meek’s Motorcycle Sales for 25 years, building both their family life and professional life on riding and selling motorcycles. Rett also drove a school bus for the Neoga School District.
Rett will be remembered for her passion for fun, laughter, and the occasional practical joke. She inspired countless women of all ages to ride and buy motorcycles. Having learned to ride her own motorcycle at age 17, she was one of the first women riders to have her own bike. She served as a Motor Maid and a charter member of the Effingham Harley Owners Group (HOG). Rett has often been described as the original “Grandstand Granny.” She loved attending motorcycle races, cheering on her favorite racers. She was a strong, independent woman and rode her motorcycle proudly. She also had a love for drinking wine and growing her own roses and other assorted flowers.
A celebration of Rett’s life will be held on Monday, May 3 at 10 am at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Neoga. Visitation will be Sunday, May 2 from 5 pm to 7 pm at the Swengel - O'Dell Funeral Home. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Trowbridge, Illinois. The family requests casual attire and motorcycle shirts for visitation and services. Social distancing and mask wearing is encouraged.
Memorials in Rett’s honor can be made to the Central Illinois Motorcycle Club (CIMC).
Swengel-O’Dell Funeral Home in Neoga, Illinois is assisting with arrangements. Online condolences may be expressed at www.swengel-odell.com. Godspeed, Grandma – we will see you on the other side kicking ass and riding your pink Harley Davidson motorcycle.
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Central Illinois Motorcycle Club (CIMC)