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'Our Guardian Angel': Family of man found in river talks about his life

Posted at 10:21 PM, Jul 15, 2020

MILWAUKEE — The family of a man found dead in the Milwaukee River says he was a special guy and a guardian angel for his siblings.

Avery Meeks Jr, 24, was swinging over the river near Ceasar’s Park Sunday when the branch broke and he ended up in the river, not able to get out because of the current.

Friends with him and Milwaukee Fire and Police rescue, along with Sheriff’s deputies worked to find Meeks but weren’t able to.

Avery Meeks Sr. says family members were on scene for 24 hours straight either on the side of the river or in boats looking for his son.

“At different times there would be 3-4 boats in the water, 2-3 kayaks in the water. People were walking along the shorelines, along with the efforts of the rescue teams. We didn’t just stand there and wait, we had people that were there that spent the night there and even though the night just did whatever they could do” said Meeks Sr.

Wednesday night, family members were reminded about the kind of guy Avery Meeks Jr. was.

His father said “He touched everybody in different ways but everybody loved him… I was fortunate enough for him to share my name.”

Meeks Sr. said Avery had recently expressed interest in the family business. Both of his parents are stylists, his dad the owner of an Exodus Salon on Teutonia.

“I had a chair waiting for him so I could tutor him” said Meeks Sr.

Avery Meeks Jr. had a special connection with his siblings. His sister Adrienne Frey said “he’s a guardian Angel on earth and. I always thought that he was mine and my other sisters… specifically here to protect us.”

Sister Ashley Pappalardo said he was loved by everybody. “He was just extremely charismatic and unafraid in every situation and he was just a joy to be around.”

Avery Jr. leaves behind a 4-year-old daughter. His family has set up a GoFundMe page for those that would like to help out during this difficult time.

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