SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--Adrienne N. Martin, who dated one of St. Louis' most well-known and well-off bachelors, was remembered Thursday as a talented artist and devoted mother who died too young.
"You all know this--we really shouldn't be here today," Pastor Scott Watson told a crowd of 100 family and friends at South Haven Baptist Church in Springfield, where Martin grew up. "It's not supposed to happen like this."
Martin, 27, was found dead on Saturday in the Frontenac home of former Anheuser-Busch chief executive August Busch IV, whom she dated for about a year. The death has left a pall of mystery and a wave of international headlines and speculation that has been painful for her family.
To many at the service, she was the gangly young girl who worked at Dairy Queen and blossomed into a beautiful woman and mother.
Busch was not at the service, and he was not mentioned. But a family friend said Busch visited Martin's family on Dec. 20 to express his condolences.
Between singing of the songs "Sing Me to Heaven" and "Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep," the memorial focused on the innocence of Martin's childhood and how she progressed to a young adult who rooted for underdogs.
A video collage of photographs included images of Martin climbing a tree, holding a violin and posing in front of lettered blocks that spelled: "I love you Grandma."
Watson pointed out how Martin loved to put things together. She made cakes, even handmade birthday cards. He said she could turn a pile of garbage into a piece of art. He recalled how she gathered keys she found on the ground along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and used them to make a large display of a hurricane.
Martin's 8-year-old son sat in the front row at the service with other family members, and Watson occasionally directed his remarks to the boy. Watson also read letters written by Martin's friends that described her as a committed mother, commuting from St. Louis to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville so she could come home every day and be with her son. Martin had pursued a master's degree in art therapy counseling.
She had recently changed careers and was looking forward to a new job as an assistant with Pluvius, a small alternative energy company in Ballwin.
Lacy Elet, 26, of Ozark, Mo., a longtime friend of Martin, said after the service that Martin had recently talked about being happy with Busch and her life overall, about "how her life was finally in order."
Martin's obituary, published Sunday in the Springfield News-Leader described "August" as "the love of her life."
A cause of death for Martin will be determined after results from toxicology tests, which could take about a month. An initial autopsy was inconclusive and didn't reveal signs of trauma, officials said.
Martin was divorced this year and had her son with her former husband.
On Dec. 19, Michael Jung, a Busch household employee, called police at 1:12 p.m. and said an unresponsive woman wouldn't wake up, according to a 911 call recording. He said he wasn't sure if she was alive because it was "dark back there" and he was going to get a light to check.
Emergency responders pronounced Martin dead at 1:26 p.m. The St. Louis County medical examiner's office was told that Martin was found at the house at 12:30 p.m., 42 minutes before the 911 call was made.
Police have said the room was dark "due to curtains drawn in the bedroom" and that the room was outfitted with blackout curtains to keep out sunlight.
After the memorial service on Thursday, Andy Eby, an uncle of Martin, expressed frustration about how Martin's death was shrouded in mystery.
"There are too many questions and not enough answers," he said.
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