It didn’t matter how old they were turning; Sherry Hines always called her grandchildren at exactly 5:30 a.m. on the morning of their birthday.

Her grandson, Zach Hines, talked about that at the Grace Christian Center in Killeen on Thursday morning, during a celebration of life for Sherry Hines, her daughter Denise Hines, 46, and granddaughter Skylar Hines Little, 19.

“It didn’t matter what time of the day you were born at. On your birthday, at 5:30 a.m., you were getting a phone call from my grandma and grandpa,” he said. “And if you stayed the night, breakfast was ready at 5:30 the next morning. It didn’t matter how old you were.”

The three women died in their home on Jan. 24 after an electrical fire that started in the garage.

More than a dozen people stood in front of a packed congregation at the Grace Christian Center in Killeen and shared memories of the three women. Sherry Hines, born Gesina in Haren, Denmark, was married to her husband Marvin for 50 years before he died in 2012. Sherry Hines loved to watch political shows on television, work in her garden and be around family members on holidays. She loved garage sales so much that she was dubbed the “garage sale queen” and had operated a daycare center out of her home for more than 40 years.

“If all the children who were partially raised by her were counted, they’d be in the thousands,” Pastor Eric Deal said in his opening prayer.

The 950 seat worship hall appeared more than half-filled, as more than 400 people were on hand to honor the family. The three were buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Nolanville. The service was a closed casket.

Skylar Hines Little graduated from Harker Heights High School in 2017. Andy Wilson, an athletic trainer at the school, told a story of how she and her mother Denise showed up to his office one day her freshman year to sign up for soccer. She had never played before, and Wilson wasn’t sure that high school was the right time to start, in part because he knew that Hines Little had a history of being clumsy.

He did think she had what it took to join the training staff though, and as it turned out, he was right. Skylar was a student trainer for four years of high school, and was named the most dependable trainer her junior year. As a senior, she was named head athletic trainer. She was described as a hard worker, who could be seen volunteering at sporting events even after she graduated.

“When you pick a student trainer, you don’t pick the person who tapes an ankle the best, you pick the person with the biggest heart,” Wilson said.

Those who spoke in attendance said that any sporting event Denise Hines’ kids were at, she could be found there as well. She was a talented cook and an avid church-goer. There are four services per weekend at Vintage Church in Harker Heights, and Skylar and Denise could often be seen at all of them.

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