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Marion S. “Marty” Meigs

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Marion S. Meigs, former Yellow Springs resident and retired U.S. Army major, died on Feb. 3 in Chase City, Va. after a battle with cancer. He was 81. Local friends knew Major Meigs as “Marty.”

He was born in Tahlequah, Okla. on Nov. 29, 1928, to Martha (Evans) Meigs and James Price (Duke) Meigs. His father and paternal grandfather are listed on the Dawes Indian roll and his grandfather, Samuel Meigs, was a Cherokee slave. The slave master was John Ross Meigs, the son of Return Jonathan Meigs and Jane Ross. Jane Ross was the daughter of the historic Cherokee Chief John Ross, who led the Cherokees on the Trail of Tears.

Marty grew up and attended school in Nowata, Okla. He was a career service man, entering the U. S. Army shortly after graduation. He served in the Korean conflict and abroad in Japan and Germany. His career duties also covered Fort Lee, Va., Fort Bragg, N.C., Junction City, Kan. and several years in Arlington, Va. He retired in 1968 in Yellow Springs prior to moving to Va. and making Chase City his home. He loved classical and piano music and enjoyed remodeling his home.

Before his passing, one final wish became reality. His life was revitalized when he and his last remaining sister, Velma DeSilva, found each other after many years of separation. They shared their lives in frequent phone conversations, reminiscing stories of their hometown and their life accomplishments, which included their military histories. They laughed a lot. Their plans to meet in person did not materialize prior to his failing health. However, on Jan. 22, 2010, their meeting did come to fruition. Over the next five days, they would have to make up for a half century of living. This was the only time they had; for this brother and sister it was a lifetime. The landscape of Chase City, Va. will forever hold their beautiful union. Their moments together and the tears of joy were indescribable.

These same five days would also be the last visit his daughter, Marcilina, would make to Chase City. Over the course of a year, she saw her father weakened and worn out by the ravages of cancer. During this final visit, she witnessed the power of the will of the soul. Slowly, over 72 hours, a man and soldier gathered up enough strength and courage to cheerfully greet and say good-bye to the staff at the cancer center. A man who could barely move his arms regained enough will power to hold a cup, rub his face and rest his head on his hand while enjoying the memories evoked while looking at and being told the stories about family photos of his wife and daughters. A father who could barely speak reached deep down in his soul and whispered with all of the energy he could muster, how proud he was of his daughters, the women they had become and of all of their accomplishments. A man who peacefully said “so long” to his daughter and his sister, knowing they knew, as he knew, there were no more treatments for the cancer, no more time to hope for a remission. Eight days after they departed his bedside, he departed this life.

His wife, Ida Delores Meigs, traveled with him as a devoted Army wife and mother. He was widowed by her death in 2001. They had three daughters: Mariea Kinley of Moraine, Marcilina Kilby of Dayton and Marla Gresham of Bloomington, Ind. He will be dearly missed and leaves a legacy to his daughters; one sister, Velma DeSilva of McKinney, Texas; and grandchildren Lanette Kinley, Andre Kinley, Dion Kinley, Juan Kinley, all of Dayton, Nichol Meigs Merrill of Lebanon, Ore., Alaina Walker and Robert L. Gresham II, also of Dayton. There are 11 beautiful great-grandchildren and a host of loving nieces and nephews. Three brothers and one sister preceded him in death.

The family will salute Major Meigs with a military memorial service on Saturday, April 3, 1:30–4 p.m. at the Glen Helen building. Condolences may be e-mailed to Nichol Meigs-Merrill at or Velma DeSilva at In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the National Veterans Services Fund (


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