William D. Meeks, 85 years old, US Navy First Class Diver and Special Projects, passed away October 6, 2016 in Mesquite, Nevada. He was born July 30, 1931 in Ponca City, Oklahoma to Pearl Claras Boyer and Fred James Meeks and had one brother, Dick Meeks, deceased and spouse, Jeannie from Ponca City.
Schooled in Ponca City and a US Navy Diver at seventeen, he helped clear Tokyo Harbor. With modern technology of mixed gasses and decompression tables he saved 20 out of 20 treated Japanese pearl divers, with safety unknown and suffering from caissen disease.
Meeks was one of a two man diving team who searched for the lost nuclear Palomares bomb off the Mediterranean Spanish Coast. Life was also eventful including the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam.
His last project before retiring from the Navy at 36 years was Man Living Beneath the Sea, Hydrospace II off the coast of La Jolla with his running mate, Scott Carpenter the astronaut, who was the Captain.
With retirement he started a diving company in Dubai U.A.E. that stretched from Bombay High Oil Fields in India to the Persian Gulf to the English Channel oil boom where he had a record breaking deep diving habitat built and was famous for never losing a diver.
He married Jocelyn Wetterstrom from Nakusp, B.C. Canada in Sveg, Sweden. She traveled the world with an “International Novelty Act” of dance with fire baton twirling. They met one day and were married 42 years.
Bill Meeks life changed along with his name “Duke” given by John Wayne while promoting Hydrospace on TV by pointing at Bill and saying, “There’s another Duke!”
Moving to Marbella, Spain with his new nick name he opened a very popular restaurant and Piano Bar named “Duques” and stayed 35 years of which time he sang and became an actor in “Girl in a Swing” with Meg Tilly and “One of the Hollywood Ten” with Jeff Goldbloom.
Duke and his wife went back to Kuwait in 1990 immediately after the Gulf War with Duke clearing the Shuik Port and the American Sector of the desert munitions, tanks and heavy equipment while criss crossing the desert and fires with his wife photographer for CMSI demolition company. Three years ago they retired from Spain to Mesquite, Nevada.
He is survived by his spouse, Jocelyn Meeks of Mesquite, NV; daughter Tyla Lee Kuu Aloha Baudrau (Robert) of Hawaii; grandchildren: Malia and Elija Chung of Hawaii; first wife, Ottina Tyler Hitchcock and second wife Doreeen Conner of Deleware.
A Celebration of Life will be held at #3 Fire station from 2:00 – 4:00 pm on October 14, 2016. The family invites you to leave a message or memory in their “Guest Book” at www.virginvalleymortuary.com.