By all accounts of those who knew LeAnn “Annie” Meyer, it was fitting that on a day filled with heartbreak and tears, it was music and smiley-faced balloons that would soar above the grief.
Family members and friends of Meyer — whose body was found in Park County last month and whose death is being investigated as a murder — gathered in Denver for one final send-off to celebrate the life of the 52-year-old woman who called Wheat Ridge her home.
“We don't want you to feel sorry for the family,” Mark Meyer, Annie's brother, told the large crowd of supporters at Willis Case golf course on July 28. “A smile will be 100 percent better.”
Meyer — who served in the Air Force and who would later thrive as a bank information technology specialist — had been missing for about five months before her remains were found on a Park County property on July 4.
Meyer's former roommate, Melissa Miller, 54, of Lakewood, has been charged with her murder.
But no one at the golf course was talking about Miller or the way Meyer died. They were there to celebrate the way she lived.
“Annie was so down to earth, and she never judged anybody, which I think was the best thing about her,” said Kim Case, who worked with Meyer at downtown Denver's U.S. Bank branch, and who had known her since the late 1990's. “Annie would plop herself down on my desk in her holey jeans and just talk. She was so great.”
When Meyer wasn't working, she enjoyed spending time with her friends. Among them were Gina Gabbie of Thornton and Stephanie Falk of Wheat Ridge, who sang along to one of Meyer's favorite songs, “What's up?”, by 4 Non Blondes, during a light-hearted musical break.
Gabbie and Falk joked that Meyer must have heard them sing the catchy chorus about a hundred times during karaoke outings with friends.
“She probably had her earplugs in every time,” Gabbie quipped.
While the day was filled with songs and laughter, there were also plenty of tears shed, especially when military service members played “Taps” and presented Pat Meyer, Annie's mother, with an American flag in honor of her service to her country.
But instead of a 21-gun salute, Meyer, an avid golfer, received a 21-golf club salute, as friends and family members gathered around balls that had “Annie” written on them, and held the clubs high in the air in her honor.
Before the event ended, family members sent smiley-faced balloons up to the sky, each one containing notes written by her loved ones — messages that conveyed their love for a woman whose life was taken from them much too soon.
“That was the hardest thing in my life I've ever had to do, was to write a note to Annie in there,” Mark Meyer said, his voice cracking. “It breaks my heart. I just miss her so much.”