Mary Melody Meese
Mary Melody Meese, age 80 died October 24, 2018, in Phoenix, AZ. She was born November 19, 1937, in Spokane, WA to John and Leila Garnsey. The oldest of four children, Mary took responsibility for her younger brother and sisters at a young age when her mother became ill. She would arise early in the morning, feed and dress them for school while getting herself ready for her own school day. Her close relationship with her siblings continued throughout her life.
During her junior year of high school, Mary was voted the best looking girl in the school. Though she was admired by all, she caught the eye of one particular senior, Richard Meese, who decided he wanted to get to know her better and asked her for a date. One date led to many and then to a long engagement. Following his graduation in 1958, Richard became an officer in the US Navy and he and Mary were married. They enjoyed 60 wonderful years together.
Life in the Navy brought many relocations. Mary and Richard lived in nine different states, on the east coast as well as 10 years in Hawaii. As they contemplated where to move after retirement, they spoke to a real estate agent in Litchfield Park, AZ who convinced them that even though they had never visited AZ, they would love the area. They came to visit and decided that she was right! They had a new home built and moved to a newly completed home in Litchfield Park in July 1978. They have been members of The Church of Litchfield Park for 40 years.
Mary’s first love was music. She was practically born singing and attended college on a music scholarship. Despite the constant moves, Mary always stayed involved in choral groups. She was involved in semi-professional music groups, participated in church choirs and led children’s choirs for many years. She loved sacred choral music and adored opera. She fulfilled one of her dreams when she was able to study with several professional opera singers. She was equally talented as an artist. Though she began painting early in her marriage, she further developed her talents as a portrait artist under the tutelage of well-known artists while living in Hawaii. Her paintings were well received by the artistic community.
Mary loved to travel. She and Richard were able to make many world trips and visited China, Singapore, Israel and most of Europe. She particularly enjoyed her summer in Italy where she was able to study opera.
Mary had many good friends. She generously cared for those around her and had compassion for them, especially during their own difficult times. Her consideration for family and friends affected them deeply all through her life. Even in her final weeks in hospice, she reached out to her caregivers to thank them and show her gratitude for their care.
Mary was an amazing mother and grandmother. Moving so often was difficult on her children and she always found activities for them that would encourage their love of the arts, stimulate their minds, and provide emotional security. She felt things deeply and suffered with her children during their own trials. She was fiercely protective of them in all circumstances. Mary’s strong will was passed on to her children. Regardless of the circumstance, they always felt loved and honored by her. She created a home that was fun, loving, beautiful and nurturing. She was known for her cooking and adventures in food. She took pride in her culinary expertise and loved to share her knowledge with her grandson Shaun, the only one she would allow to assist her in the kitchen. She doted on her grandchildren and double doted on her great-grandchildren.
Mary is survived by her husband, Richard E. Meese; daughter, Margot O’Sullivan; son, Matthew Meese; sisters, Anna Smith and Patty Payne; brother, David Garnsey; two grandchildren, Ashley H. Perry, and Shaun R. O’Sullivan; and three great-grandchildren, Jaiden Perry, Amelia Perry, and Samuel Perry. She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Leila Garnsey.
A celebration of life will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at the Church of Litchfield Park, 300 N Old Litchfield Rd, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340. The family suggests that donations be made to the Mayo Clinic.