S&B Candy & Toy and the St. Louis Game Company’s well-liked Marty Luepker passed away in his sleep on Monday, Sept. 25, at just 60 years old. Company topper Brian Riggles received a phone call from Luepker’s girlfriend sharing the horrible news.
“It was the worst call of my life. We’re all devastated. When you talk about things being unexpected, that’s exactly what this is. I still don’t believe it,” Riggles said in a call to RePlay.
Luepker, the company’s Product Development Manager/Director of Distributor and International Sales, had just returned that Saturday from a two-week trip overseas for the GTI show in China, which he extended to visit with a longtime friend with a beach house in Bali.
Marty was the first employee joining owner Brian Riggles and his wife Diane in their garage-based start-up. As of his passing, he’d been with the company for 31 years. Riggles recalled, “We had so much fun back in the early days, listening to music and opening boxes of candy, working in the garage.”
Riggles met Marty by a vending machine at Edison Brothers Mall Entertainment where they both worked. Diane worked for Edison, too, though in a different division. “We hit it off the minute we met,” Riggles said. After Edison fell on hard times, eventually going bankrupt, Riggles started a candy crane business. He had 10 machines and could see the potential. “I knew it could be big and I needed help. I reached out to Marty, and he was elated to be part of something so new and fresh. He loved the amusement game business.
“Marty could wear nine different hats. He helped me with all my projects, patents and pretty much anything that came out of my head. He was so good at that. I was a visionary and needed the right people around me to take the idea and help me build it. Marty was that for me and I think that’s why we worked so well together. We complemented each other’s talents and personalities…different people but the same soul.
“I could talk for five hours and not cover a tenth of our history together. He created a great atmosphere in the office. He was an easy person to be around, approachable and full of charisma. I can’t think of anyone who didn’t like him. I have no words to express how very much I miss my friend,” Riggles said.
Marty is survived by his daughter Emily and son Martin, his mother Sue, sister Jill, other family members and many friends. A visitation will be held Sunday, Oct. 1, from 2-6 p.m. at Hoffmeister Colonial Mortuary (6464 Chippewa St., St. Louis, MO 63109). A graveside service will be Monday, Oct. 2 at 1:30 p.m. at Resurrection Cemetery (6901 Mackenzie Rd., Affton, MO 63123).
All are welcome to attend (please arrive at the cemetery no later than 1:15 p.m. at the first entrance off Mackenzie Road from Watson Road). S&B will be closed on Monday, Oct. 2, for the services. In lieu of flowers, family and friends would appreciate contributions in Marty’s memory be made to the community garden in his neighborhood that he worked to develop. Visit www.dutchtownstl.com for information on giving.