Larry Miller, RIP

By February 20, 2009

A great patron of Mormon history has passed on today, Larry Miller. He is perhaps best known for owning the Utah Jazz and several car dealerships in the state. But to me and many of my blogmates, his generosity is what made five of the best years of my life possible. As I remember the story, it was Miller who first approached Ron Esplin and Dean Jessee, asking for ideas for projects where the Miller family could be useful. Esplin and Jessee, without hesitation, invited him to become involved with the JSPP. Miller was not a scholar, but he had a deep love for the Prophet Joseph and has left us all in debt for his generosity.

On a personal note, I was privileged to attend an annual party held in the Miller home a few years ago. Jeff Cannon and I joked that no one would want to sit with the “single guys,” and we thought we were right, as most of our JSPP colleagues settled in at tables with other married couples. Our singleness, however, allowed for several empty chairs at our table, which to our surprise were soon filled by Larry and his wife, Rick Turley, and John Tanner. Perhaps the most prominent individuals at the party condescended to sit and have genuine conversation with a couple of relatively unknowns. I will always remember that experience.

If anyone has any memories of Brother Miller, or would simply like to express your thoughts, feel free in the comments below. The thoughts and prayers of the bloggers at the Juvenile Instructor are with the Miller family.

(ht: BCC)

Article filed under Announcements and Events Reflective Posts


  1. I’m glad you’ve put up this post, David. I put up a link, but hoped there would be more somewhere.

    I remember a time — don’t remember the year, but a while before the Papers project moved to Salt Lake — when Larry Miller seemed to be at the Archives a lot, bringing in friends and family members, taking tours and no doubt being shown some fantastic treasures. My only interaction with him was an occasional one-floor elevator ride, but I noticed that he always seemed like a kid in a toy store, so excited by whatever it was he was doing. He wasn’t a scholar, perhaps, but he loved Joseph Smith and the tangible reminders of Joseph’s work. You could tell that by the constant delight in his expression.

    I knew he was involved in a lot of civic and charitable work, but already tonight there are reports of projects he sponsored that I had never heard of before. I liked what a family member said tonight about his creed — “keep doing good until there’s too much good in the world.”

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — February 21, 2009 @ 12:00 am

  2. An appropriate tribute to Miller. Thanks, David.

    I had the opportunity of meeting Miller on three separate occasions, and appreciated each time that he made sure to personally greet and thank each student RA on the project. He firmly believed that the Project was helping Mormonism’s cause in perpetuating the legacy of JS. I’m glad that he was able to see the first volume rleased before he passed on.

    Comment by Christopher — February 21, 2009 @ 12:38 am

  3. My father volunteered as an usher at the Delta Center for several years. Part of that time he ran one of the elevators. Whenever Larry rode in his elevator or saw him on the floor he called dad by name. Granted, dad had a name tag on, but Larry also asked how he was and asked about his family. Larry remembered everything about Dad. One time dad missed a couple of games because he was sick. Larry noticed that he wasn’t there and asked him how he felt when he returned and said that he had missed him.

    Comment by Maurine Ward — February 21, 2009 @ 1:09 am

  4. Thanks for the remembrance. Best wishes to the family.

    Comment by Edje — February 21, 2009 @ 9:27 am

  5. Thank you for the tribute. Miller’s name was in the media for many things (good and bad!), but my experience is that it was rarely associated with some of the most impressive things he was a part of–such as the JSPP.

    Comment by Scott — February 21, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  6. […] RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!» My Top Ten LDS Best Practices for People of Any Faith» Larry Miller, RIP» Q. What?s the difference between Jesus and Obama?» ‘An extraordinary […]

    Pingback by Afternoon links - 21 February 2009 | A Soft Answer — February 21, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  7. I only saw Miller, a good and decent man who contributed much to Salt Lake City, at Jazz games and once on the street, surrounded by a coterie of men competing for his attention. Plus, he was a great history buff in the finest sense of the word. A prominent local bookseller told me he was a big fan of the “Kingdom in the West Series,” but I never approached him for a handout.

    Comment by Will Bagley — February 21, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

  8. On tonight’s news in the San Francisco Bay Area, Miller’s passing was featured. The news person was quite positive about Miller and his relationship with the Utah Jazz. Clearly Miller cast a large shadow.

    Since many of the folks who benefited from Miller’s generosity post here, I was hoping someone could clear up something for me. Did Miller provide a lump sum of money to be invested in a trust and then an annuity is used for the JSPP or is there some other arrangement?

    Comment by Joe Geisner — February 22, 2009 @ 1:26 am


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