By Michelle Seeber: Freedom Newspapers
Charles Meister, a former president of Eastern New Mexico University, was a driven man.
He was awarded five battle stars while serving as a Captain in the Army Infantry in World War II. He also represented the United States for education and religious affairs in Berlin.
Meister died April 2.
In the 1950s, he was a professor at Arizona State College before becoming dean of instruction and academic vice president. From 1965 until 1975, he headed ENMU, where he helped develop the school’s Head Start, Newgate and Upward Bound programs.
“He was very friendly, I would say, and tremendously outgoing,” his son, Charles Meister, 51, of Flagstaff, Ariz., said. “He was German, so he was pretty headstrong. He loved being around people, committees and get-togethers.”
During his retirement, Dr. Meister had eight books published, ranging from American history to religion to terrorism. He was an expert on Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov and many world religions.
“He had files and files of papers that I’m going to have to go through pretty soon,” Charles said.
Charles said his father was a good athlete and played minor league baseball. One of Charles’ fonder memories of his father occurred in his youth.
“We used to go fishing a lot when I was young,” Charles said. “We went on some nice vacations back East, deep sea fishing off the Atlantic Ocean, and we went hiking a lot together.”
His father, he said, was a writer.
“He had a lot of articles published in different journals and was in Who’s Who in America in 1954,” Charles said. “One of his fondest memories at the university was winning the NAIA basketball championship in 1969. That was one of the biggest things that ever happened to Portales, I think. Of all the places he lived, he said Portales had the friendliest people.”
After leaving ENMU, Meister lived in Flagstaff, then in Pine, Ariz.
Jack Williamson, a former professor at ENMU who lives in Portales and known for his science fiction writings, said he knew Meister well.
“I admired him,” he said. “He was a great teacher. As president of ENMU, he was a deeply religious man, very serious in his life and about what he did. He was an effective president, a friend, a great teacher.
“I respected him and liked him.”