Student remembered for passion, "nerdiness"

Jessie Hellmann

Adrien Mowery wanted to get his degree in geology “so bad,” said his sister Sarah Appel of the former USI student.

The 29-year-old died Nov. 7 of a heart attack in his car in Parking Lot G at USI.

Appel said Adrien had a heart transplant six years ago that prolonged his life.

“He has been in college on and off for the past few years because his health,” she said. “He wanted to get that degree so bad. He wanted to travel the world and study rocks.”

She said he loved traveling and had been to North Dakota, Washington, D.C., Florida and New Mexico.

She and Adrien were the “best drive-thru team” at the McDonald’s they worked at together in Washington, Ind., she said.

She said he loved animals, especially his cat, Phoebe.  He also had two ferrets growing up he named Pongo and Le Lou.

“He loved music, especially techno music like Moby and Daft Punk,” she said. “’Around the World’ by Daft Punk is the ringtone I have for him. He got to choose.”

Maggie Perry, one of Adrien’s roommates, said she met him two years ago in an anthropology class.

“When I think of Adrien, his heart is not what defined him,” Perry said. “It was just there beating and keeping him alive, just as anyone else. Yes, he had a tough childhood but the man he became was not sick or frail in any way. You wouldn’t have known he had a heart transplant, and he wanted it that way.”

She said she will remember nights of staying up late discussing organized religion and that he loved philosophy, geology and paleontology.

“More than anything (he loved) dinosaurs,” she said. “It sounds geeky, but that’s who he was – a nerd at heart – and we loved him for that.”

She said one of her favorite memories of him is having nerf sword fights in the yard.

“We had a brawl in the front yard where he ended up dragging me across the yard by my leg screaming,” she said. “There are so many great things he brought to this world, and he made people open their eyes to things they could not see before.”

She said one word that would describe him would be passionate.

“Everything he did was full of passion, especially photography,” she said. “He was so creative and good. He had the best ideas ever.”

Ashley Hibbard, one of Adrien’s friends, said she believed he was the kind of person who made everyone smile.

She said they met after he approached her while she crying at a McDonald’s she worked at after being teased about her weight by a customer.

“What (Adrien) said to me, I will never forget,” she said. “He said, ‘You are beautiful no matter what anyone else thinks or says.’”

She said Adrien saved her life that day.

“What (Adrien) gave me that day was hope,” she said. “Hope for a future. I think he knew that his was limited, so he tried to help everyone he could along the way.”

Aimee Arthur, another of Adrien’s roommates, said she and Adrien were really close and shared everything together.

“Not many people can say they have a friend as great as Adrien was,” Arthur said. “When he told me about his (heart) transplant, the only thing I could think of is he’s my hero. He never once complained when he wasn’t feeling good.”

She said there will always be a place in her heart for him.

“If I could say one thing to him, I would tell him thank you for everything you did for me and even continue to do,”  Arthur said. “He made me want to cherish life more because that day could come at any moment. I want to be able to look back at my life five, 10, even 20 years from now, and think I had a great life, and it’s all thanks to him.”