Cellastine Meeks


Cellastine Brown Meeks passed away Friday, August 5th, 2011 at St. Joseph Medical Center. 

Mrs. Meeks was widow to the late Cordell D. Meeks, Sr., who was elected as the First Black District Court Judge of the State of Kansas. She was born July 12,1917 in Lawrence, Kansas to Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Brown of Topeka, Kansas.  She graduated from Topeka High School in 1935, enrolled in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Kansas as a music major, and began to teach music and piano.  In those years she entered and won many piano contests, and played at many churches throughout Topeka. At at the age of 17 years, she wrote and published a song, “Mommy Dear”, dedicated to her mother for Mo

ther’s Day; she eventually composed 6 original works.

Cellastine met Cordell in 1937 in Lawrence while he was attending the University of Kansas and she was enrolled in the School of Fine Arts. They were married and moved to Kansas City, Kansas; to that union four children were born: Marlene Shelby (wife of Rudolph Shelby), a retired teacher of 33 years; the late Cordell Meeks, Jr., (husband to Mary Ann Meeks) who passed in 2006 and followed his father in the role of Judge of the Wyandotte County District Court, Division 6; Marcena  Chandler (wife of Luther Chandler), social worker and owner of “Sunshine Day Care”; and Marquita Cross, (wife of Dr. Cartrell Cross), a professional concert violinist living in Houston, Texas. Cellastine and Cordell had been married 47 years when he passed in December 1987. 

Mrs. Meeks also leaves behind her sister, Miss M. J. Brown, a retired school teacher of 40 years in the Kansas City, Kansas School System.

Cellastine enjoyed volunteer work, cultivating her expertise by hosting many social events as she assisted her husband in politics. Her home became a meeting place for the northeast area of the Kansas City, Kansas. In the 1940’s, she was a democrat precinct committeewoman; the committee meetings were then held at her home for 28 years. She was a former member of the Dawson Music Club, the Calendar Club, L’sprit Club, Pierian Club, Movie Camera Club, League of Women Voters, membership committee of the Yates Branch of the Y.W.C.A. in the late ‘40’s, Wyandotte County Bar Auxiliary, Barristers Wives of Greater Kansas City, Democracy Inc., Young Democrats, N.A.A.C.P. and she formed the first P.T.A. Chorus for Douglass School.

She has been part of the A.M.E. church for over 87 years, having joined St. John A.M.E. in Topeka, Kansas when she was 10 years old, and as a member of First A.M.E. Church for over 73 years.  She was a member of the Mary F. Handy Missionary Society, Unit 1 for over 50 years, served as secretary for 11 years, and received many certificates and a 62-year anniversary plaque. She is a life member of the P.T.A. and the Alumni Association of the University of Kansas.  For twelve years she was an aide at Sunshine Day Care Center. In later life, she took time to visit the sick on her church registry at their nursing homes. 

Cellastine's accomplishments extended into many arenas. She was trained as a nurse at the historic Homer G. Phillips hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. While rearing her small children, she graduated from the Weaver School of Real Estate in 1957.  In 1984 her cookbook, "Cellastine’s Cuisine" was published as a companion piece to her husband Cordell’s autobiography, "To Heaven Thru Hell"; both were displayed at a West Branch of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library Author’s Reception in 1986.  She completed an audio autobiography which was printed and bound by her grandson and granddaughter, Jd and Zoe Michaels, as an 80th birthday gift.  She compiled and published a book of Cordell’s many political speeches, as well as a volume of his love letters to her, through their own Corcell publishing company.

Cellastine loved outdoor sports, especially boating and deep sea fishing, which she and her husband did often. She also loved to sew, crochet, cook, read, and play the 25 foot pedal organ which her husband gave her as a gift for their 25th wedding anniversary.  

Her life of achievement earned her an honor as one of the YMCA Yates Branch Black Women of Distinction in 1995-96. 

Her 17 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and 1 great, great grandchild kept her busy when she wasn’t working: Jd Michaels (husband to Zoe K. Michaels), New York; Cordell Meeks III, Kansas City; Cameron Chandler, Kansas City; Claudia Chandler, Kansas City; Lisa Stuart (wife of Michael Stuart), San Antonio, Texas; Lori Chandler, Kansas City; Luther Chandler Jr. (husband to Carole Chandler), Kansas City; Lamont Chandler (husband to Judy Chandler); Chaunia Patrick (wife to Eric Patrick), Kansas City; Claudia Chandler, Houston, Texas; Christin Chandler, Houston, Texas; Cartrell Cross II (husband to Sarah Cross), Houston, Texas; Dr. Chaundré Cross (husband to Mary Cross), Naples, Florida; Dr. Chadrick Cross (husband to Jill Cross), Chicago, Illinois; Anton Cross, Houston, Texas; Arielle Moore, Houston, Texas; Anthony Shelby, Kansas City; Yolanda Shelby, Kansas City.

Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 11:00am at First A.M.E. Church, 1111 North 8th Street. Kansas City, KS.  Visiting services will be 9-11 at the Church.  Per Mrs. Meeks request, in lieu of flowers donations may be made to First A.M.E. Church.

Mrs. Cellastine Brown Meeks