FAIRFIELD — “Blessed is she who believes. I am woman enough for anything God has for me.”

Tammy Meunier-Pease choked back tears as she read this line, the closing line in the poem “Identity Deceleration” written by Valerie Tieman. Meunier-Pease had never met Valerie Tieman, but through collecting her belongings and reading her writings at the request of Valerie Tieman’s parents, Meunier-Pease has gotten a sense of who the woman was and wishes she could have known her while she was still alive.

“Even though I didn’t have the honor to meet Valerie personally, I truly feel close to her,” Meunier-Pease said at a memorial service for Valerie Tieman on Sunday. “I just wish I would have been able to meet her, and those who were lucky enough to know her are very fortunate and I feel honored to speak here this evening on behalf of her parents.”

Valerie Tieman, 34, was shot twice in the head Aug. 25, allegedly by her husband, Luc Tieman, 32, and partially buried in the woods near his parents’ home on Norridgewock Road, where the couple had been living.

Police recovered her body Sept. 20, about two weeks after she was reported missing by her parents, Allen and Sarajean Harmon, who live in South Carolina. Luc Tieman was arrested Sept. 21 and charged with murder, making his initial court appearance Sept. 23. He remains in the Kennebec County jail in Augusta, awaiting a bail hearing.

Valerie Tieman’s funeral was at noon Saturday at Faith Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina. The Maine medical examiner’s office this past week confirmed Tieman’s body would be taken to South Carolina.

Meanwhile, some of Valerie Tieman’s friends — Emily Rowden Fournier; her mother, Lyn Rowden; and her brother, Aaron Rowden — organized a memorial service scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday at Fairfield United Methodist Church on U.S. Route 201. The service was open to the public.

Watch Valerie Tieman’s funeral service in South Carolina on Saturday

Meunier-Pease is the security manager at the Wal-Mart in Skowhegan, where Luc Tieman told police he had last seen his wife on Aug. 30. When she was contacted by the Harmons, asking if she could review the security footage and tell them if there was any sign of their daughter, Meunier-Pease said she was compelled to help them. She then contacted Maine State Police and continued to talk with the Harmons on a daily basis throughout the search for their daughter.

“I couldn’t let the people who were so far away not have a voice,” she said. “I truly believe that a higher power was involved.”

In the dimly lit sanctuary of the Fairfield United Methodist Church on Sunday night, a group of about 40 people gathered solemnly and quietly. They bowed their heads and comforted each other before gathering in song. The hymn “Amazing Grace,” without the accompaniment of a piano, echoed through the wooden rafters of the church with the same strength of faith and belief in the possibility of beauty being born out of ashes as those who knew Valerie Tieman say she possessed.

“Everyone that knew Valerie knows that her flame was a flame of light, providing illumination to those around her and lighting a path of faith and joyfulness,” Aaron Rowden said.

Fournier acted on stage with Valerie Tieman in the Rowden family’s Recycled Shakespeare Co. and shared dinner parties with the family. Fournier said from the moment she met Valerie Tieman, her beauty and joyfulness was evident. The two women became more than friends, having been cast as sisters in a play, and Fournier says she and Valerie Tieman would refer to each other as “sister.”

“I never had a sister growing up, and now I have one in heaven,” Fournier said. “Val was the most vivacious person that I have ever met.”

Fournier says she’ll miss the little things about her friendship with Valerie Tieman, such as the texts Fournier would receive from her such as, “Hey, girl, how you doing?” Fournier called Valerie Tieman a survivor of cancer among other illnesses, though given Tieman’s joyful nature many people didn’t see that side of her.

“You wouldn’t know that by just talking to her once. She was always looking on the bright side of everything and always praising God for every day that she walked on Earth,” Fournier said.

Those who spoke at Sunday’s memorial knew Valerie Tieman as a woman with an abundantly strong faith in God. Even Meunier–Pease said her faith was evident from simply reading Valerie Tieman’s writings.

“She truly believed in the Lord,” Meunier-Pease said. “She had a lot of comfort in God and in faith.”

Margaret Lambert, who performed with Valerie Tieman in a play, said Tieman was “the brightest spark you could imagine.” Lambert, a veteran, said that if the allegations against Luc Tieman are true, then he failed his duty as a veteran in an ultimate way.

“If he failed to protect her from himself, then that is the greatest failure of all,” Lambert said.

The Harmons told authorities they heard from Luc Tieman on Sept. 8 that Valerie “had left him and that he had not seen her for some time,” according to a Maine State Police affidavit. They contacted Fairfield police and reported their daughter missing the next day after officers were told by Luc’s parents — Alan and Laurelle Tieman — that the couple no longer was living at their home on Norridgewock Road.

Luc Tieman later told police he had last seen his wife Aug. 30, saying they went to Wal-Mart in Skowhegan. He told police he went into the store and Valerie stayed behind in his red Chevrolet Silverado truck, but she was gone when he returned from the store. A police review of Wal-Mart surveillance footage showed no sign of the Tiemans or the truck.

In interviews with the Morning Sentinel, friends said that Luc Tieman was unfaithful to Valerie and sought companionship with other women, telling them his marriage was ending around the time that she disappeared.

The Morning Sentinel also reported that Luc Tieman’s lone criminal conviction in Maine stemmed from an incident in September 2014, about three months after he and Valerie had married, in which he used a hatchet to damage the trailer of a Winslow gun shop late at night. Tieman, who had been drinking alcohol and initially evaded capture, later told police he had an argument with his wife and was out “because he was upset.”

In keeping with Valerie Tieman’s Christian convictions, Lyn and Joe Rowden advised people to keep the Tieman family in their prayers and not to forget that they are mourning a loss as well.

“Her heart was full of love, and praise of God on her lips and in everything she did,” Lyn Rowden said.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

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Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate