Missing couple who built dream house along river ‘were inseparable’
Sandy and Larry Miller, owners of a roofing brokerage company in Everett, were active in their church, and as leaders of its marriage ministry would counsel engaged couples or married people struggling to hold it together.
Seattle Times staff reporter
When they set about to build their dream house, the place they’d spend their golden years, Sandy and Larry Miller selected a site on a bend of the Stillaguamish River surrounded by the bounties of nature they both loved.
Next to it, the couple, who operated a roofing brokerage company in Everett, built a guesthouse where family and friends, including those from their Everett church, could come for retreats and to enjoy that beauty with them.
The Millers — he, 58, she, 64 — had been slowly moving into the home along 312th Street Northeast, near the town of Oso.
And on the morning of the mudslide, Ron DeQuillettes, an electrical contractor who also did blacktop installation work, was to meet them there to provide an estimate for a new driveway.
All three are among those confirmed missing by authorities.
Greg Gorsuch , of Forecast Solar, and a friend of all three, said he had introduced them to one another at the Seattle Home Show in February.
He wrote in an email: “I imagine the three of them, Ron, Larry and Sandy all standing out in the front of the house facing the river and the beautiful mountains on the other side while reviewing the possibilities.”
The couple worked together at their company, Seattle Roof Advisor, where Larry was the broker and Sandy did the bookkeeping.
“He was involved in getting roofs on many churches in the greater Puget Sound region — sometimes even climbing up on the roof himself,” said Larry Miller’s stepsister, Kathi Johnson of Puyallup.
“They were so important to each other; they were inseparable.”
The church, Northshore Christian Church, honored them during services this past weekend, said Executive Pastor Ron Cizek.
The Millers were among the most active members of the church, devoting time as leaders of its marriage ministry to counsel engaged couples or married people struggling to hold it together.
In a church blog, Cizek wrote: “People like Larry and Sandy are the glue that hold us together.”
“They make the room better just by walking in. They are the people you appreciate, even more so when they’re gone.”
Johnson said the Millers had been working on the house for years: “It was truly a labor of love,” she said.
It dwarfed others in a neighborhood of vacation cottages and mobile homes and “was truly incredible” Gorsuch said.
He said, “If you had asked Larry about the 2006 slide and the potential of pending danger living there, he undoubtedly would have said something like, ‘Greg, we all have to die sometime; when it’s my turn to go home, I’m going home.’ ”
Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @turnbullL