SAFETY HARBOR — Twanyetta Miller was built strong.
Her father called it a gift from God, a gene, a certain composition that gave her an edge. She was swift, coordinated and muscular. She could run laps around everyone.
By age 10, she was running competitive track and field, zooming in time trials and jumping hurdles. She excelled at state-level meets. She was a junior Olympian, a junior national champion and record holder, her family said.
"It was amazing how far she went," said her father, Eugene Miller. "I was real proud of her."
In school, she was reserved and studious. She loved English, and was also good with numbers. She graduated from Countryside High with a 3.7 grade point average. At Florida State University, she double-majored in finance and marketing and graduated cum laude.
"She just enjoyed everything about school," said her mother, Linda Miller. "She didn't complain much."
People ran to her for advice. Her younger brother, Alex, didn't make big decisions without getting her opinion. She was calm, levelheaded, and unfailingly honest. Friends knew she'd call out their foolishness.
"I'm not with that nonsense," she'd say. Or, "That's your story."
"She had perspective," said her father. "Most people admired, trusted and respected her."
Ms. Miller lived in Safety Harbor and worked in accounting at MetLife. She shared everything with her family, including weekly outings with her mother to favorite restaurants like Red Lobster. She always ordered shrimp.
She was fashionable, but conservative. She loved high heels and perfume and had 25 blouses with the tags still on. She never wanted for much, because her father taught her to manage money. Her credit score, he said, was a 786.
She had a few very close friends, but she didn't share herself with just anyone.
"She was single. She had dated, but she was very particular, a very good girl, very high standards, and that's why she wasn't married," said her mother. "You had to come straight. She said, 'the Lord will send me someone.' "
Ms. Miller never had health problems, her family said, and recently had been battling a cold that took longer than usual to kick. On Feb. 10, though, she died at home suddenly of a massive heart attack, her family said. She was 31.
Her strength makes her death harder to comprehend. On her online obituary guest book, friends posted memories of the powerful blur of speed at track meets.
We thought we were the bomb, until we heard about the young lady by the name of 'Twan" … when we showed up at the field, Twan had on this all black track uniform looking serious. Needless to say, Twan ran circles around our whole team.
Stephanie Hayes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8857.