SANDY — Driving a convertible with the top down and wind in their hair was how Heidi Miller and her mother, Sherry Black, spent one of their last days together.
Miller described the outing from the pulpit of a Sandy Mormon church where funeral services for Black were held Monday. The mother and daughter were on their way to a Utah Jazz game, Miller said, and her mom didn't care about getting her hair messed up. The two would go on to chat and laugh throughout the entire game.
"That was one of my favorite outings with her," she said. "I talked her ear off."
Black was killed Nov. 30 when she was stabbed to death in her South Salt Lake book business that adjoined her and her husband's home. Police are still investigating the case and have not publicly identified a suspect.
Black was the mother-in-law to Greg Miller, CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, which owns the Jazz.
Family and friends remembered her as an incredibly giving individual and attentive grandmother. Several grandchildren spoke fondly and tearfully of sleep overs with pizza and popcorn, always planned to a "t."
Jason Hawks, husband of Courtney Miller Hawks, Black's granddaughter, said he was welcomed into the family by Black.
"She supported all of us in our passions," he said, recalling the way Black would pick up books that interested her grandchildren. Hawks said he admired the way Black cared and supported her husband, Earl.
"When he wanted to be a cowboy, she let him buy horses. When he wanted to make knives, not only did she let him build the shop, buy the tools and the materials, but she gave him feedback, encouragement and suggestions," Hawks said. "When he wanted to go on a three-week buffalo hunt, she didn't complain. She missed him, and she called all of us the day he got his buffalo to make sure we knew that he was successful."
Miller said her mom remained humble, despite her wonderful accomplishments. Black had a knack for book selling, and did great in school when she went back to college in her late 30s.
"The only thing she ever bragged about was her grandchildren," she said.
Elders M. Russell Ballard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the church's Quorums of Seventy both offered words of comfort to the many grandchildren in the audience.1 comment on this story
"This was a tragic way in which your grandma was taken, but she didn't feel it spiritually. Her spirit is whole. It was not touched. Her spirit is well," Elder Ballard said at the conclusion of the services.
Miller said she feels blessed that God gave her a parent who doubled as a best friend.
"One of the greatest gifts he's given me is my mother."