Memorial service

A memorial service for Sean and Staci Griffin will be at 4 p.m. Friday at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 7077 Harvest Road, Gunbarrel, according to Rev. Martin Lettow.

The service is open to the public.

A memorial fund has been set up for the Griffin family. It is titled "Griffin Memorial Fund." Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo, nationwide.

For years before moving to Longmont's quaint community of Prospect in 2007, Sean Griffin would bring his young daughter to Colorado to visit friends and go on backpacking excursions in the Rocky Mountains.

Matt Emmens, 39, who grew up with Griffin in Ridgefield, Conn., and now lives in Longmont, said his best friend would lecture him before letting him take his only child on any number of adventures in the high country. Griffin would say, "We've only got one daughter. We can't get another one," according to Emmens.

"She knows how much her parents adored her -- like no other parents I have known," Emmens said Tuesday, wiping tears from his eyes, veiled by sunglasses.

Emmens said he hasn't slept since learning that his best friends were gunned down by an employee at their Boulder Stove & Flooring business Monday morning. Boulder police suspect Robert P. Montgomery, 50, shot and killed Sean Gerald Griffin, 40, and his wife, Staci Froderman Griffin, 41, after expressing anger over a change in sales commissions and bonus pay system. Montgomery then turned the gun on himself, police said.

"I freaked out," Emmens said, recalling the moment he learned that three people were found dead in the small business at 2887 30th St.

Tammy Whinston, 40, of Nederland, who also grew up with Griffin and was present for the birth of the couple's daughter, said someone from the Coroner's Office called her directly after the shooting Monday because she is listed as the seventh-grader's emergency contact at Longmont's Sunset Middle School. Whinston said she picked up the 13-year-old girl from school.

A yellow ribbon adorns the railing of the home of Sean and Staci Griffin in Longmont, Colorado May 18, 2010.  Photo by Mark Leffingwell / The Camera
A yellow ribbon adorns the railing of the home of Sean and Staci Griffin in Longmont, Colorado May 18, 2010. Photo by Mark Leffingwell / The Camera (MARK LEFFINGWELL)

"She wanted to see her mom," Whinston said. "She knew her dad was dead. But she wanted to see her mom."

When they learned later that both of her parents had died in the shooting, a group of the girl's friends gathered around her at the home of her pastor and family friend, Emmens said.

"There was not a lot of talking," he said. "But the kids were trying to keep (the daughter) upbeat. They were trying to make her laugh."

The teenager is with family now after a large number of people flew into Colorado from out of the state Tuesday.

"It's been rough," Emmens said. "But I think she's holding up better than I am."

The girl's friends and family members don't yet have an answer to the question of where she will go and whom she will live with.

"But she is a really, really smart kid," Emmens said. "So she will be a part of that decision."

For years, he said, Sean Griffin was a stay-at-home dad while Staci Griffin worked. She spent a decade -- from 1996 to 2006 -- at a Connecticut-based company called Waterworks that manufactures and sells fittings, fixtures and surfaces for bathrooms, company officials said.

The family moved for a job in Tennessee but, Emmens said, they "hated it." So the parents left their next move up to their daughter: return to Connecticut or venture to Colorado -- one of her favorite vacation spots.

"She chose Colorado," Emmens said.

The couple was tired of working for other people, he said, so Sean Griffin started searching for a company to buy in the Boulder area.

"When he went into Boulder Stove & Flooring, he said, 'This is it,'" Emmens said.

Griffin lived with Emmens while he got the business up and running. Soon after, Staci Griffin and their daughter joined him here, and they bought a home in the Prospect neighborhood of Longmont. The couple enjoyed hosting friends at their new house.

"Sean was a fantastic cook," Emmens said.

The couple was generous, according to Whinston, who described them as the glue that held their friends and family together. Whinston said she never imagined they would be the victims of such a senseless killing.

"Sean seemed invincible -- he was everyone's protector," she said. "I know 10 to 15 people who will claim Sean as their best friend."

Barbara Sallick, co-founder of Waterworks in Connecticut, talked about Staci Griffin as a warm, friendly and passionate woman.

"She was just a lovely, lovely person," Sallick said. "She always had the most remarkable attitude. And the other thing about her that we loved so much was that she had incredibly good common sense."

Staci Griffin was an excellent manager of the boutiques that sold Waterworks products, Sallick said, making the employee shooting even more shocking.

"I can't actually believe that this kind of thing would happen," Sallick said. "We are so devastated."

Sallick said Staci Griffin kept a lot of close friends in Connecticut, some of whom might come out for the couple's memorial service Friday.

Rev. Martin Lettow, pastor of Boulder's Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 707 Harvest Road, said there will be a time after the 4 p.m. service there for sharing stories about the Griffins.

"Everyone in the community who is affected by this is welcome," Lettow said.

A lot of young people are expected to attend to support the couple's daughter.

At her school on Tuesday, the St. Vrain Valley School District provided a trauma response team of counselors to support students and staff members struggling to cope with the shootings.

"They are working to return the school to emotional equilibrium," said district spokesman John Poynton.