Mr. Meckley passed away at 6:45 a. m. Wednesday June 28, 2000 [with his son David by his bedside] in Jacksonville, Florida after battling lung and brain cancer. He was 81 years young and a WONDERFUL DAD.
Mr. Richard G. Meckley was born April 27, 1919 in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. He was raised with an older brother and sister [Claude and Anna Mae]..He attended Hershey High School at nearby Hershey, Pa.. Mr. Meckley answered the call and went into the army during World War II serving in the Philippines. He also served in the Korean War.
He met Eunice White, a 2nd Lieutenant Army Nurse, at Camp Stewart, Ga. After a brief time of service at Ft. Benning, Ga. , they made their home in Dothan, Alabama in 1949.. He worked at Fort Rucker as a civilian comptroller for five years.. He then started his sports journey working with Mr. Jess Swicegood at WDIG radio, hosting Dothan's first call in radio show in the mid 50's. Mr. Meckley was the voice of the Dothan Cardinals Minor League Baseball team at Wiregrass Stadium, where son Shannon served as the bat boy. In the late 50's he refereed high school football and basketball throughout the Wiregrass area.
In the 60's his unique voice could be heard over the P.A. system calling play by play for local sporting events at Rip Hewes Stadium.. In addition, he was the voice of Dothan High football and basketball over the radio, and he loved playing the song "Sweet Georgia Brown" over the speakers as the Dothan High basketball team entered the court..He also hosted a baseball show on Channel 4 T.V. He painted a beautiful picture as he called Dixie Youth Baseball on the radio.
"Hi everybody, this is Dick Meckley high above the 18th green bringing you The Future Masters Golf Tournament." He was only on a 6 foot high scaffolding, but you felt so close on radio to a tournament he loved.. In the 60's he also introduced the little mascot footballs and basketballs thrown out at games..
In 1970 he joined the PGA TOUR working for Golf Radio Network and was offered a job by WABC TV NEW YORK to work on tour.. In Sept of 1971 he joined AA and remained sober for 29 years [ a great accomplishment]..
Mr. Meckley moved to Jacksonville, Florida in the early 70's where he met his 2nd wife, Ginny. He served as National Account Mgr. for AAA Cooper Transportation from 1976 to 1983.. In 1980 he became 1 of 30 founding members of the TPC at SAWGRASS..In 1983 upon the recommendation of close friend Pete Davison , Mr. Meckley was hired by Roger Cleveland as the 1st Tour Rep for Cleveland Golf on the PGA TOUR.. He made the wedge No 1 on tour, and the players nicknamed him ' Lo Tec Meck ' for his love of persimmon woods.. He served Cleveland until 1993 and then worked as Tour Rep for Hogan and Wood Bros. Mr. Meckley had many friends on the PGA TOUR and held a special affection for the PGA TOUR Bible Study.. He retired from the PGA TOUR in 1996.
Mr. Meckley's final years were spent doing what he loved most.... mowing the greens at the TPC, and serving as administrative consultant to his close friend Fred Klauk (greens superintendent). His greatest legacy is the many people's lives he touched. HE LEFT SO MANY TROPHIES. Through his eyes, everyone was the same... everyone was special... whether you were on the tour or not. He was a father figure for so many young people who came by "His Table" (in the TPC Clubhouse), as he shared the Lord with them, gave them guidance, encouragement, and most of all he gave them his TIME. He had a special love for the people who worked on the golf course, the waiters and waitresses, the clubhouse staff and the golf cart employees. Mr. Meckley showed us with his life how to spell love... TIME.
To continue Mr. Meckley's love for these young people at the TPC, a fund has been established in his memory. Memorials in his memory should be sent to THE DICK MECKLEY 17TH GREEN GOLF FUND, Attn Bob Whiddon, SouthTrust Bank, P.O. Box 809, Dothan, Al. 36302.
Memorial service will be held Tuesday, July 11, 2000 at 10:00 a.m. at the TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Speaking will be friends Bobby Clampett, Fred Klauk, Pete Davison and Mr. Meckley's son, David Meckley... In honor of Mr. Meckley's life and his many friends in Dothan, David is having a memorial service for Mr. Meckley Thursday, July 6, 2000, 6:30 pm on the practice tee at The Highlands. If inclement weather the service will be held inside the Highland Oaks Clubhouse.
Survivors include his wife, Ginny Meckley, Jacksonville, Fla.; two sons, Shannon Meckley and his wife Marcia, Carbondale, Colo.; David Meckley, Dothan, Ala.; a step-daughter, Stevie Scott, Charlotte, N.C.; a sister, Anna Mae Coble, Elizabethtown, Pa.; a grandson, Ben Meckley, Carbondale, Colo.
A Word from Ben Crenshaw
We lost a friend a short while ago, a friend to us all who loved golf, Mr. Dick Meckley. I so enjoyed my conversations with him over the years as we shared observations about the people we have met through golf, the people who work within the industry, about golf equipment, golf swings and especially golf courses and their upkeep. We shared a lot. I looked forward to talks with him because they were so soothing, so genuine and so entertaining.
I looked to him as a sort of surrogate father. We shared a lot of things, but that's what friends do. I think everyone was enriched by knowing Dick Meckley. God Bless him and his family.