Arlene Durham, Gail Palmgren's best friend, must sit across the street from the church, family has barred her from paying her respects.
(WRCB) - Gail Palmgren's whereabouts were a mystery for more than seven months and her story captivated the Tennessee Valley during that time.
Friday, Palmgren is in her final resting place.
Her memorial service lasted a little more than an hour and included communion served by her son and daughter.
Channel 3 wasn't allowed inside, but one attendant says the part that moved people to tears was when Palmgren's sister, Diane Nichols, spoke.
The parking lot outside St. Peter's Episcopal Church is full as friends and family gather to remember the life of Gail Palmgren.
"I hardly got any sleep last night," says Palmgren's best friend, Arlene Durham. "I know I won't see my friend until I get to heaven."
The service marks the end of a long seven months after the Signal Mountain mother went missing in April. The story has been marked by controversy.
Earlier this month, thanks in part to Durham's efforts, Palmgren's remains and Jeep Rubicon were found down the side of Signal Mountain.
But Friday morning when Durham got to the church she was turned away.
"When you lose somebody you want to be around the people that knew her," Durham says. "It's comforting."
Durham and Clive Bonnick have been vocal about their suspicion of Matthew Palmgren, saying he knew more about his wife's disappearance than he's letting on. Hamilton County Sheriff's investigators have never indicated fool play.
Clive Bonnick never knew Gail Palmgren, but organized searches and prayer vigils after her disappearance. Bonnick arrived shortly after Durham and was also escorted off church property.
"I think her sister moved everybody on several occasions," says Palmgren's friend, Mike Kornosky who attended the service.
An hour after the service began friends and family from Georgia, Signal Mountain and New York filtered the parking lot. Kornosky says more than a dozen pictures of Palmgren decorated the church.
"It was very similar to the Catholic services that I've been a part of," he says. Kornosky also says he'll always remember when Palmgren's sister, Diane Nichols, spoke.
"She remembered their childhood together and spoke to her children at length," he says.
Nichols told her niece and nephew to trust in God and remember their mother's legacy.
Durham says that legacy is one of happiness. "She was always uplifting and happy," Durham says.
After the service Matt Palmgren and his children spent the day with family. The burial will be private.
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:47 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:47:12 GMT
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