Slain woman’s friends, family remember her at celebration in West Palm Beach

5:44 p.m Sunday, June 29, 2014 Local
Laura Lee Chapman, the owner of LL&R’s Stepping Stones sober living facility, wipes tears from her eyes during a memorial June 29, 2014 at Fern House for her friend, Margeaux Greenwald, whose body was found in Palm Beach Gardens on June 7. Friends and co-workers came out to comfort and encourage one another, sing songs, watch a slideshow, and share a meal during the ceremony. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

By all accounts, Margeaux Greenwald would almost never show up on time for anything.

She would always get there eventually and light up the room when she did, but it would take her a little extra time.

So 30 minutes into her memorial service Sunday when thunder crashed, and the dim lights flickered in the Fern House recovery facility, demanding the attention of the more than 50 people, no one was surprised. Margeaux had finally shown up.

“Only Margeaux would go out with a bang,” Dawn Jonas said, “with the thunder and the lightning, you can’t miss her.”

Jonas met Margeaux about 15 years ago, saying she was brutally honest but someone who would always be there and listen to problems.

The 35-year-old’s body was found beaten to death in Palm Beach Gardens this month. Herbert Savell has been charged with first-degree murder, and police suspect that another man also played a role.

A recovering addict, Margeaux had been in and out of sober living facilities for years, landing at Laura Lee Chapman’s LL&R Stepping Stones in 2011.

Chapman immediately felt a strong connection to the thin brunette woman, knowing she had a fast friend.

She recalled Margeaux as someone who was always smiling and laughing, making everyone in the room feel better.

“From the first day that I met Margeaux, I knew there was something special about her,” she said.

As she spoke, Chapman was flanked by multiple bouquets of red and pink roses — Margeaux’s favorite. All the attendees were encouraged to take one to help remember their friend.

The ceremony started with a slide show of pictures of Margeaux, many of her smiling and having a good time. The presentation was set to more upbeat music because Margeaux wouldn’t have wanted a slow, sad song, Chapman said.

Margeaux was making strong strides in her recovery, always going out of her way to help others, prompting Chapman to give her a job in the company.

When Kim Morgan was going through struggles in her own life, she always gravitated to Margeaux. Morgan knew Margeaux would always be there for her, whatever she needed.

“Margeaux was not just a friend to me,” she said, choking back tears. “She was my sister.”

In the recovery program, friends and counselors provide the support system that some addicts may not have through biological families, Mary Albright explained after the service. They see each other as family.

Ray Rodriguez said he and Margeaux didn’t always see eye-to-eye.

She could sometimes be hard-headed and push people’s buttons, but in the end she was always pleasant to be around, he said.

“She had a way of making everyone smile,” he said. When you were around Margeuax everything else didn’t matter. You were enjoying life at that moment.”