Robert Frank Meaders was known by his clients throughout Cobb County and North Georgia as an expert surveyor and development consultant. His family recalls his “amazing” work ethic and his career of more than 50 years that started right out of high school. But most of all, they remember the life-long loving relationship they had with him.
“Our last conversation was a call from him checking on my kids’ game schedules,” said his son Robert Frank Meaders Jr. “He so loved all of his grandbabies. This was the ‘play hard’ after his ‘work hard’ regular schedule.
“Dad was such a cool guy to hang out with,” he added. “We would sit on my back porch and watch (University of) Georgia games and shoot the breeze. The years we spent hunting and fishing are absolutely priceless to me.”
Meaders, 71, was struck and killed by a motorist April 4 as he was surveying a roadway in Kennesaw. He was president of RFM Consulting and Surveying in Marietta. His late wife, Ansley Meaders, was the third-longest serving mayor of Marietta, first elected in 1993 and serving two terms after that. The couple were married for 40 years before Ansley Meaders’ death in 2005.
Meaders was a lifetime resident of Marietta. He was born to Helen Ellison Meaders and Jack Quillian Meaders July 28, 1945, in the old Marietta Hospital on the Marietta square and was known as Bobby growing up. He spent his childhood playing in the rural areas of East Marietta off Austin Avenue and fondly shared memories of his carefree days and his favorite treehouse: an old sofa that he and neighborhood friends hoisted up into a tree.
Meaders attended Marietta High School and was accepted at Georgia Institute of Technology based on a letter of recommendation from his mathematics teacher. He worked his way through college, graduating from night school at Southern Technical Institute with a degree in surveying. The week after he graduated from high school, he went to work at Hensley-Schmidt and worked for that organization, which became ARCADIS, for 44 years until 2007. After retiring from ARCADIS, Meaders established his own land planning, development consulting and surveying business, RFM Consulting.
“Dad had such an amazing work ethic,” Robert Meaders Jr. said. “He started his career a week out of high school and worked with that company for more than 40 years. He worked his way through college, and upon his retirement, he promptly started his own consulting company.
He continued, “He loved his career. He was very proud of his decades of work all over Marietta, Cobb and North Georgia. He died doing what he loved.”
In the 1970s, Meaders was a member of one of Marietta’s first community block grant committees that brought school buses into Marietta. He ran for city council and served several terms on the board of directors of Marietta Country Club in the 1980s. An avid golfer and a regular at the “men’s” lunch table, he was a member of Marietta Country Club for over 45 years.
Meaders coached son Robert’s baseball teams and cheered on Robert’s football teams at Marietta Junior High and Marietta High School. He served as a board member for the MHS Touchdown Club and remained active for years after his children were out of school. He rarely missed any of daughter Mary Ansley’s basketball, softball or soccer games. He was an ardent supporter of the Marietta Blue Devils and still attended most home football games.
Survivors include Meaders’ wife, Deborah; son, Robert Frank Meaders, Jr. and his wife Haley Hunter Meaders and their children Robert Frank Meaders III “Trey” and Hunter Eugenia Meaders; daughter Mary Ansley Southerland and husband James D. Southerland and their children James Rosser Southerland and Georgia Ansley Southerland; three step-children, Anthony Denson, Justin Denson, and Kyle Denson and their families; and a sister, Mary Meaders Johnson and her husband Herman.
A funeral service was scheduled April 7 at First Presbyterian Church in Marietta, with a reception and celebration of life to follow at the Marietta Country Club. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to one of Meaders’ favorite charities, The Meaders Family Fund - Marietta Schools Foundation, 144 Polk Street, Marietta, 30064; Cobb Humane Society, 148 Fairground St., Marietta, 30060; or Green Beret Foundation, 14402 Blanco Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78216.