Gabriel Meadows was born to a very bright mother who finished high school. His father got only as far as the 6th grade in Oglethorpe, GA before having to drop out of school to help support his family. The couple raised Gabe and his six siblings in the John Eagan Homes, government subsidized housing project in Atlanta.
Though finances were a constant struggle, his mom emphasized the importance of a good education and insisted that he and all his siblings do there best in school. She taught them early in life that they could learn more in school if they behaved in class. So, a grade less than “A” was tolerated on the academic side of the report card, but nothing below an “A” was tolerated by his mom on the “conduct” side of the report card. She was often heard admonishing her kids, “You can’t help it if you are stupid, but you know how to sit down and shut up!” Mom’s insistence paid off since out of seven kids, five graduated from college with at least a Bachelor degree and one earned a PhD.
Meadows’s father left the family when Gabe was only ten years old, but his mother continued to steer the ship. He lived in the “Projects” until he was 14 years old when he moved to their first single family home. Although the family shared the rather dilapidated house, behind an attached neighborhood convenience store with Ms. Woods and her son, “Skeet,” it was the first time he didn’t share thin walls with neighbors on either side. And it was in a better neighborhood.
As it turned out, this would be the first time that 14-year-old Gabe had to deal with mowing a lawn or making repairs to a home. For at the age of 12, his divorced dad would pick him up on Saturdays to help him with his 3rd job of mowing lawns for affluent white people, Meadows knew his way around a lawn mower. And since his grandfather was a carpenter, young Gabe was handier than most fourteen-year olds with minor home repairs. Though the house wasn’t much and the family was renting, Mama Meadows demanded neatness and order. It wouldn’t be but 4 years before Ms. Meadows, who always worked two jobs while raising seven children, was able to scrape and save enough money to move her family into a new five-bedroom home in what was considered a middle-class neighborhood! Gabe was so proud, he didn’t know what to do. He clearly didn’t realize the house was an investment. But he did realize that it was “brand new” and he and his siblings didn’t need much encouragement from his mom to make sure that their house was the best kept house on the block.
Meadows professional career has been extensive and has taken him all over the country and indeed, the world. After only two semesters at Morehouse College, Atlanta, Meadows was drafted into the U.S.Army. He served in Germany as a Military Policeman and traveled all over Europe from Athens Greece to Florence Italy and every other major city in Italy. He traveled to Switzerland, France, Belgium, Scandinavia, Turkey, Spain and all over. He earned Certification in German Language from the United States Air Force Institute. He returned to civilian life in the US ready to complete his college education which he did in 1972 earning a Bachelor of Business degree from Georgia State University. Meadows’ first professional career opportunity came with the NL, Atlanta Braves as the first Black to serve in the front office of that franchise in its history. After three years with them, he was lured away by the NBA, Atlanta Hawks where he served as VP, Advertising Sales and Promotion for another three years before signing on with the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. Next came stints with A&W Beverages and Guaranã Beverage Co. (founded by Meadows), after which Meadows entered into the real estate industry where he sought to build homes for low to moderate income families. He became a founding Limited Partner of Texas Heavenly Homes, Ltd. It was his observations of the quick deterioration of housing developments for this income segment, while preparing to build homes, that prompted him to devise a program that would teach future and present owners of these homes, their roles in maximizing the values of their homes and communities. Meadows’ life has come full circle; from a boy brought up in government rental assisted “Project” housing to a man fully equipped, not only to teach the true meaning of maximizing one’s living conditions, but teaching it in a language and style that does not offend. Now, let the teacher teach!
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