Devin Rae Miller was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, on January 6, 2003, to a family who adored her. She brightened our lives in so many ways and the nickname “Rae of Sunshine” seemed to stick right away.
From the beginning, it seemed that Devin loved music and was born to sing. She hummed, made up silly tunes, and at 2 years of age, she pounded her tiny toy piano with almost perfect rhythm. By then her family had moved to Healy, Alaska.
Devin was an only child (and grandchild) until the age of 6. She embraced life with curiosity and creativity, and by the time Rylee Marie came along in 2009, she was ready for the role of big sister. She was a mini-mom and she doted over Rylee, and Rylee adored her big sister, too.
In 2011 the family of four – Preston, Sarah, Devin and Rylee – left Alaska and toured the country on their way to Farmington, NM, where a new job and a new life was awaiting. Many new adventures and many new chapters followed. To their family in Alaska, New Mexico seemed way too far away, and visits were never frequent enough. There was lots of laughter in their home, but as always, life was not without pain. Devin sheltered Rylee through some of life’s roughest storms.
When they returned to Alaska to visit in 2016, a new job was in the works for her dad, and Devin chose to stay and begin school in Delta Junction, but she never stopped missing her mom. By that time, her family dynamic had shifted.
Devin and Rylee were now living with her grandparents, who saw the world once again through the eyes of a 7- and 13-year-old and who embraced these girls each day and prayed for a miracle.
Devin was apprehensive about jumping into a new school as an 8th grader and being the “new kid,” but her fears were allayed by the new friends she made and the teachers and staff who embraced her. Music soothed her soul. Her magnetic personality won many hearts, even though as one teacher put it, “She will NEVER STOP SINGING and NEVER STOP being missed ... her smile lit up the classroom and even on days we wanted to put her in a headlock, it seemed those were the days she made unforgettable.”
In 2017, her mom preceded her in death, and this was an earthquake that sent tremors for a long time to follow. Devin consoled herself with music, playing her ukulele, playing basketball, and spending time with family and friends, but the hole it left in her heart was devastating.
This beautiful Rae of Sunshine left us on July 13, 2018, in Fairbanks, Alaska. A light extinguished far too soon. A tragedy we’d hoped was preventable and are only bearing it by the Grace of God.
Devin was preceded in death by her mother, Sarah O’Flanagan and maternal grandmother, Rebecca Peel. She is survived by her father Preston Miller, sister Rylee Marie Miller, grandparents Lonnie and John Miller, grandfather Keith O’Flanagan, great grandfather David Underhill, aunts Brooke Carson (Kyle), Kylie Eads (Evan) and Shelby Eleden (Billy) and the whole Lester Family. Devin has so very many loving cousins and extended family members who feel this loss all too keenly.
Devin was born in the winter of 2003, but she was present in our hearts from the minute her parents announced they were expecting, on Mother’s Day in 2002, and she will remain in our hearts forever. She will be greatly missed.
Devin’s family very deeply appreciates your outpouring of love and care. The message of love, calls, meals, prayers, etc., are an extension of all the love and care you had for this beautiful girl.
A celebration of Devin’s life will be held in Delta Junction on July 20th from 6-7 pm at the outdoor hockey rink on Nistler Road. In lieu of flowers, we suggest a donation to the suicide prevention organization of your choice in her name or the Delta High School Booster Club.
Grief counselors will be available at Delta High School on Friday, July 20 from 1-4pm. All are welcome to attend. Please enter through the main entrance and follow the signs.