Rev. Dr. Herbert Meza, 94, joined the Church Triumphant on Thursday, February 9, 2017. After more than 50 years in the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA), he will be an excellent addition to that heavenly congregation.
Herb was born in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida, on October 26, 1922, the son of a Spanish father and a Cuban mother. He became a Christian under the tutelage of the Ybor City Mission, headed by Dr. Walter Passigllia, a ministry of the St. Johns Presbyterian Church.
He joined the Marine Corp at 17 years of age, with the consent of his mother, served in the Pacific in WW ll, receiving two Purple Hearts. He made a commitment to seeking peace after hand to hand combat with a Japanese soldier and remained dedicated to that pursuit throughout his life.
After the war, he attended Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary under the GI bill. He served as a missionary to Portugal for five years, returned to the states, and served churches in Texas, Washington, DC, then to Jacksonville to the Fort Caroline Presbyterian Church in 1980.
While serving as a pastor in Houston, TX, in 1960, he invited and chaired a meeting of the Houston Ministerial Association for Sen. John F. Kennedy to allay fears about a Catholic president. It was consequential in Kennedy’s election.
In 1983, Herb won the Presbyterian Peace Seeker Award, which resulted in an audience with Pope John Paul ll to discuss the possibility of USA/USSR communications during the Cold War.
After retiring in 1991, he served as interim pastor in nine various churches until 1999. One of Herb’s enduring qualities was his love of travel and adventure. His wife, Franzle, often said that he was on an adventure or planning one! Herb and Fran traveled to about 70 countries and islands in their 34 years of marriage. Herb peacefully embarked on his great final adventure with eager anticipation.
Herb is preceded in death by his mother and father, Michael and Dulce; and his brother Ed.
He is survived by his wife, Fran; son, Scott Meza(Anny); grandchildren, Jenna and Zach; son, Mark Meza (Kathryn); grandsons, Daniel and Benjamin; son, Chris Meza; and daughter, Cecelia Meza; step-daughter, Karen Parker (Rusty); grandson, Jeff Parker; granddaughter, Jordan Flanagan (Ethan); great grandchildren, Lottie and Luke Flanagan; stepson, Kenneth Collier (Caroline); granddaughter, Amanda Moseley (Ryan); and grandson, Robb Collier.
The family would like to thank our primary doctor, Dr. Jose Garmendia, and Community Hospice for all their dedicated care.
A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at Geneva Presbyterian, 1755 State Road 13, St. Johns, FL 32259 on Wednesday, February 15 at 11 AM.A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall.
In lieu of flowers please make a contribution to a charity of one’s choice . Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin, 11801 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32223, www.hgmandarin.com, 904-288-0025.
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Feb. 12, 2017