Reminders of Dooley

It’s so hard to believe that it has been 14 years since Dooley went to heaven!

Dooley, my goofy little brother, was on his way to hockey practice on October 17, 2002 when he had a car accident that changed so many lives. Dooley survived the crash but could not survive the effects from it, and on October 18, 2002, Dooley went to be with his Maker. He was just weeks away from turning 16.

Ryan Patrick "Dooley" Miller

For those who didn’t know him and might be wondering what sort of name Dooley is, I’d be right there with ya! It’s a weird one! haha 🙂 His real name was Ryan Patrick Miller but we called him Dooley because when Jordan (my twin brother) and I were little, my grandparents gave him the nickname Doodlebug (?) and all Jordan and I could say was “Dooley.” So it stuck! And it could not have fit him more perfectly.

Dooley was really tall, really handsome, a very talented artist, an incredible musician, and, I believe, a budding engineer. He was so smart when it came to techy stuff and car stuff. But above all that, he was also really really funny! He was quite the ham if he was in the right setting 🙂 He always kept our family laughing! And stories of him STILL keep us laughing!

I often wonder what Dooley might be doing today and sometimes find myself having daydreamed for really long periods of time imagining who he’d be married to, what his kids would be like, where he would work, what places in the world he’d want to visit, what current songs he would like…

Then other times when I’m really busy going about my day, I’ll be stopped by a wonderful Dooley reminder that gives me the opportunity to thank God that we have Heaven and that we get to see Dooley again! (Dooley loved Jesus BIG.)

Dooley’s favorite stuffed animal was a koala bear named Koaly. Koaly had a fiery Aussie accent (invented by Dools, perfected by my dad, who even let Koaly drive sometimes– with quite the road rage!) Now that Wilson has a similar love affair with his lion, Mr. Roarsly, I’m reminded of that sweet relationship that Dooley and Koaly had. They’d go EVERYWHERE together. We actually got Wilson a koala last year to add to the animals he sleeps with in honor of Uncle Dooley, so when I see it every night as we put Wilson down, I think about Wilson’s sweet uncle who would have loved his nephew and nieces something FIERCE. (He was great with kids!) His niece Lily Ryan was named after him and has the same sweet, happy, goofy disposition that her uncle once had!

Remembering Dooley

Another of my favorite Dooley reminders is a shirt that was his. LOVE the sweet feeling it brings every time I wear it. He was wearing it in the last really good picture that was taken of him. (It’s the picture in this post!) What a treasure that shirt is!!

Remembering Dooley

We had our annual “Dooley Day” family gathering a day early last night at Local 463. It was burger night, which also means they had some specialty milkshakes on the menu for the evening! Most of us ordered one and as we drank them, we talked about how my mama used to make Dooley milkshakes with as much high fat stuff as she could think of so he would put some meat on his bones! Ah, for that to be a problem… 😉

I hope those of you who knew Dooley think of a good Dooley story today and get a good laugh! And I hope those of you who didn’t know him can at least know how much he was loved, how much he loved his Savior, the hope we have in Jesus that we get to see him again, and the hilarious legacy he left us here on earth!

Dooley- you are missed, thought about all the time, and still laughed at often by your big sister 😉


  1. Elizabeth October 18, 2016 / 7:32 am

    Dooley was always up to some new funny prank in our Latin class. He is certainly missed!

    • thelovelybee October 18, 2016 / 3:53 pm

      Aw I love that! I had actually forgotten that he took Latin! Thanks for the reminder! 😉

  2. Mary Elizabeth October 18, 2016 / 8:01 am

    Laurel, I love how you have opened your heart to others about your dear brother. I never knew him, but through your stories, I feel almost as if I did. I too have had questions pop into my mind from time to time, wondering how things might be if David were still with us. Since David was the oldest, what would the family dynamics be if Andrew and Madison still had their big brother? Would I have parented any differently? Would my relationship with Andy be different if David hadn’t died? And the tears… they pop up sometimes when I least expect. When John Nevels got married, for example, because they were the same age & I thought about how David would never have the opportunity to marry. This year, on the anniversary of his death, I did fine. But the next day at Bible study I broke down when asked to tell about myself & my family. I do have the knowledge that David is in Heaven with the Lord & I hope that, when my time comes, I will be there too. Thanks again for opening your heart to others like you do. Love you and your precious family!!

    • thelovelybee October 20, 2016 / 11:29 am

      Thank you for sharing about David!!! I wish I had known him– I know he was so special! I’m glad I’ll get to meet him one day! 🙂 He and Dooley are hanging out telling stories about us I’m sure! 🙂 And if your faith is in Jesus then you will absolutely, undeniably get to see David again!! So thankful for that promise!! 🙂 Love you!

  3. Whit October 18, 2016 / 9:02 am

    Wonderful legacy and I love knowing him through your eyes. Love you all.

  4. Avery Shannon October 18, 2016 / 10:45 am

    The Miller family is so special and such a blessing to so many people! I’m sad I never got to meet Dooley, but I can certainly imagine just how amazing he was based on knowing his incredible family! Love you so much, Bear! So thankful for the promise of heaven!

    • thelovelybee October 19, 2016 / 9:22 am

      Thank you Ave! Love you lots!!! You’ll love Dooley when you meet him one day! 🙂 XOXO!

  5. Mary October 18, 2016 / 12:52 pm

    Laurel, your gift for writing is a blessing to all of us who read your words! You & Jordan were so attentive to him, each in your own special way, that my job was made easier in many ways during your early childhoods. You verbalized his needs so well that, for quite a long spell, he hardly talked. He didn’t need to!! I’ll never forget how, at his two-year check-up, Dr Steve Perry asked me if he was talking. I said, “Oh, yes!” Dr Perry looked at Dooley & said “What cha know, buddy?” Dooley just stared at him. I stood by quietly, knowing that Dooley has Laurel to talk for him, so he doesn’t need to say much. Plus, I could tell by the cold stare that Dooley was thinking, “My name is not Buddy.”

    • thelovelybee October 19, 2016 / 9:23 am

      Hahaha that’s what big sisters are for! ? Love you Marmee!

  6. Jessica Miller October 18, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute Lee, I feel I know Dooley by reading this even though I never got to meet him. Funny it’s a very special day for me as well.. it is my brother Jerry Jr’s birthday today,,he would be 57 today but we only had him for a short 19 years.. That tragic day in december 1979 will always stick with me but I know he was a spcecial gift from God for all of us…I know we have special angels in heaven watching over us on this day and every to you and your family. Jessica Miller

    • thelovelybee October 19, 2016 / 9:25 am

      Birthdays are hard! Prayers for you and your family as you remember your brother! Thank goodness for Jesus and the assurance of Heaven!!!!! ??

  7. Libby Garland October 18, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    What a precious tribute, Laurel, and what a good writer you are! Give your mom and dad a big hug from me.
    Love, Libby

    • thelovelybee October 19, 2016 / 9:25 am

      Thank you Libby! Will definitely pass along the love! ?

  8. Mona Powell October 18, 2016 / 8:36 pm

    I knew Dooley. I will never forget the very first time I met him. My husband and I were teaching the three year olds at Broadmoor Baptist Church. Dooley was in our class and as he walked in the room I looked at the names and I asked him if he was Ryan Miller. He looked at me for a second with a very serious look on his face and replied ” Ryan is my
    name but I like to be called Dooley”.
    And Dooley did fit him perfectly! He always had something to say. And he kept us laughing with his mischievous little personality. Once you met Dooley you never forgot him! Prayers for you and your family.
    Love & Hugs, Mona Powell

    • thelovelybee October 19, 2016 / 9:27 am

      Aw I love that! Thanks for sharing!! He really was a mischevious little dude, always with something funny to say or do! ?

  9. Vickie Farlow October 18, 2016 / 10:04 pm

    I remember when Dooley was born almost 30 years ago. How suprised we were that he was announced as “Ryan” that Sunday morning in church. That was the name we had picked out, if our baby would be a boy! Neither one of us knew the other had picked the same name. So, about six weeks later, our baby boy was born, and we stayed with the name that we had picked out. And, the two Ryans grew up together at Broadmoor and were such wonderful friends – Dooley and Ryan. Dooley was very special and we will always remember him, and I often wonder, myself, what he would be doing now. I have kept the bookmark from his funeral in my Bible these 14 years, because I stood at his graveside and I told your grandmother I would never forget Dooley.

    • thelovelybee October 19, 2016 / 9:28 am

      Dooley and Ryan really were quite a pair! That’s awesome that you still have that bookmark! Thank you for helping keep his memory going! Love the Farlows!!

  10. Alison Ross October 19, 2016 / 4:18 am

    I loved that sweet funny little brother of yours. Always smiling and always kept us laughing! I also always think of him and your whole family every October 18. That date always sticks with me. Can’t wait to see him again one day!

    • thelovelybee October 19, 2016 / 9:55 am

      Thanks Alison! 🙂 And thanks for remembering the date. That means a lot! Excited for all of us to be reunited one day! 🙂

  11. Jane October 19, 2016 / 8:19 am

    What a wonderful tribute to Dooley. Your words are so true! The three things I remember the most about Dooley are that wonderful, big smile that just kind of spread across his face. Secondly, he was a ‘man of few words.” And lastly, those big ole feet that stuck out in the aisle in my 8th grade history class! I loved having him in my class!

    • thelovelybee October 19, 2016 / 9:54 am

      Thank you for commenting!!! I am so glad you got to know him! 🙂 Yes, he had some big ol feet!! ha!

  12. Andrew Butler October 19, 2016 / 2:15 pm

    Duley was one of the nicest people one could ever meet. Talented smart and funny. I have a picture of us from the 5th grade if you’d like me to locate it and send a copy for you and your family

  13. Cissy Carter October 18, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    I remember those days well. It was Homecoming at Prep. After Dooley’s service and as your Mom was walking away from the graveside, she had the most angelic look on her face. I wondered, how can she do that, but I know why. Your family’s great faith has been such a witness to so many. What a wonderful day it will be when you see Dooley again.

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