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Audrey McDaniel Mekis

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 15th, 2017

September 11, 1921 - February 8, 2017

Resident of Santa Cruz

Audrey was born at home in De Soto, Missouri on September 11th, 1921. She graduated from Crystal City High School in 1939 with top grades and was admitted to St. John's Nursing School in St. Louis, where she graduated as a registered nurse in 1942. Nursing ran in the family, both Audrey's mother and grandmother had been nurses before her. After beginning her career in St. Louis, Audrey learned there was a shortage of nurses on the West Coast of California in 1946. When she landed a job at Watsonville Hospital, she packed her bags, hopped on a train, and headed across the country — on her own.

Audrey met Andrew (Andy) Mekis, a Watsonville native and the son of Croatian immigrants, at a dance at Deer Park Tavern in Aptos. Andy would become the love of her life, and they were married at Valley Catholic Church in Watsonville in 1948.

In 1950, one year after opening their new business, Andy's Auto Supply, on Pacific Avenue, the couple moved from Watsonville to Santa Cruz. Five years later, they were one of the early families to move into a home in the new Westlake development, where Andy and Audrey raised their six children.

Andy and Audrey traveled extensively throughout their lives. Beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the ‘90s, they traveled throughout Europe, China and Japan, Africa, Mexico, the Middle East, and of course North America. They also made at least ten trips to visit Andy's extended family in Croatia.

Audrey had a unique spirit — on the one hand she was a very serious and religious person, but on the other, she had a wit that would continually catch people off guard. Her dry sense of humor certainly kept the Mekis family on their toes. Audrey often spoke upon issues she felt strongly about. If the Catholic Church did something she didn't agree with, she would call the priests, and write the Bishop. If a doctor wasn't responding to a family health problem, she would call the doctor and get results. She was an avid reader, and an environmentalist who was recycling and composting in the 1960s, long before most people understood these concepts. Audrey took enormous pride in all six of her children. She was the organizer, cook, and photographer for hundreds of family gatherings for sixty years. She was the heart and conscience of the Mekis family, and we grew strong because of her moral compass, her honesty, her wit, and her love.

After her children were raised, Audrey decided to go back to school, realizing that her nursing education had left gaps in her knowledge of literature, art, and the social sciences. She completed her AA degree in Liberal Arts at Cabrillo College in 1982 at the age of 61, and began a new career as a volunteer at the Cabrillo College Stroke Center. With Audrey's nursing background she was able to provide skilled support to the Stroke Center's staff and patients for many years.

Audrey lived at Dominican Oaks for more than six years, where she thoroughly enjoyed her apartment, her garden, the staff, and the support they provided. She spent her final years at Sunshine Villa, cared for by their loving staff, and looking forward to daily visits from her children.

Audrey was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Andrew Mekis, and her son-in-law, Morton Marcus.

Audrey is survived by her six children, Jim Mekis (Sara Cordell); Kathy Miller (Marshall); Michael Mekis (Paula); Donna Mekis; Paul Mekis (Julie Raynaud-Mekis); and Lisa Mekis. She is survived by nine grandchildren, Ann Mekis (Justin Beachler); Esme Miller; Marcella Moran (TJ); Philip Mekis (Darcy Pierce); Daniel Mekis; Katie Mekis; Nicholas Galli (Jennifer); Dominique Mekis; and Dalton Mekis; and six great-grand children, Jacquelyn, Josie and Cash Moran; Beatrix and Audrey Galli; and Vivian Mekis Beachler.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at the Oblates of Saint Joseph, 544 West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz on Friday February 24 at 3:00 pm. Reception to follow. A visitation has been scheduled for Thursday, February 23 from 5 to 7 pm at Pacific Gardens Chapel, 1050 Cayuga Street in Santa Cruz.

In lieu of flowers, please consider sending donations to the Cabrillo College Stroke Center, where Audrey volunteered for more than 20 years. Checks can be made payable to the Cabrillo College Foundation/Stroke Center, and mailed to: Cabrillo College Foundation, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA 95003. Please note that the donation is in memory of Audrey Mekis.

For the complete article see the 02-16-2017 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-16-2017 paper.

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Keywords: Audrey McDaniel Mekis, Pacific Gardens Chapel, watsonville, memorial, obituary, funeral, death

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