HUMBOLDT - William Brown Mekemson, 87, of Humboldt, passed away on December 21, 2012, at the Extended Care Unit of Humboldt County Memorial Hospital. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, December 26, at 11 a.m., at Faith United Methodist Church in Humboldt. Visitation will be one hour before the service. The Mason-Lindhart Funeral Home of Humboldt is in charge of arrangements.
William Brown Mekemson was born in Kinsley, Kansas, on January 18, 1925, the third child of A. R. "Archie" Mekemson and Mima (Williamson) Mekemson. His family lived briefly in St. John, Kansas before moving to Pawnee City, Nebraska, where Bill spent most of his childhood and youth. After graduating from Pawnee City High School in 1943, he entered the U.S. Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. As part of his training, Bill attended Doane College, in Crete, Nebraska. During this time he lived with his sister Pauline's family and forged a lifelong bond with his niece Betty and nephews Bob and Ken. He later attended and graduated with a B.A. from the University of Minnesota, where he studied music, mathematics, and Spanish, as well as swimming on the Gopher swim team and playing trumpet in the Navy band. After his service in the Navy, Bill attended the University of Iowa, from which he received a master's degree in piano performance. Bill began his teaching career in Milford, Iowa, where he taught instrumental music and met Dorothy Mae Brown, of Emmetsburg, Iowa, to whom he was married on December 23, 1951. To this union were born a daughter, Mary, and sons William, Paul, and Joseph. Bill taught in the Estherville, Havelock-Plover, and Pocahontas school districts before the family moved to Humboldt in 1966. In Humboldt, he taught high school Spanish and elementary instrumental music until his retirement in 1985. During the summers, Bill worked as a field inspector for DeKalb. In addition, throughout his working years and well into retirement, Bill served as a church organist. Following his retirement, Bill and Dorothy traveled extensively. Bill moved to the Extended Care Unit at Humboldt County Memorial Hospital in 2010.
Bill was an incredibly talented and accomplished musician who served as an organ or piano accompanist at high school instrumental contests, weddings, and funerals. Musicians whom Bill accompanied on piano during his long career ranged from elementary school students performing at their first music recitals to the great operatic bass-baritone Simon Estes. Bill accompanied vocal groups such as the Fort Dodge Choral Society and the Humboldt Community Chorus. As a member of Faith United Methodist Church in Humboldt, Bill served as an organist and pianist there for many years, as well as being a member of United Methodist Men. He also belonged to the Humboldt Lions Club and enjoyed "roaring with the Lions." He was fond of reading and gardening, and as a young man raised and hypnotized chickens. Bill was an excellent swimmer well into his later years and won gold medals at Senior Olympics. Bill's greatest love was for his family. He picked a special song for each of his family members that he could easily be convinced to play and sing.
Bill is survived by his daughter, Mary Mekemson, and her husband, Robert S. Baker, of Madison, Wisconsin; son William and wife, Mary Frances, of Ames; son Paul of Dakota City; and son Joseph of Des Moines. Also surviving Bill are his grandchildren Amy Mekemson of Des Moines; Elizabeth Mekemson Baker of Richmond, Indiana; and William Mekemson and Michelle Mekemson, both of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam, as well as special niece Betty Zamperini and special nephews Bob and Ken Brenneman. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Stewart, and sister Pauline, and his beloved wife of nearly 60 years, Dorothy, in November 2011.