In loving memory of

Thomas Alban Dooley
November 7, 1953 - December 15, 2022

Thomas (Tom) Alban Dooley left this world on December 15th, 2022, surrounded by his immediate family at his "Dooleyville" home in Cave Creek, Arizona. Tom was a native of Arizona, 69 years of age, born November 7th, 1953. He was a resident of Cave Creek since the 1970s & hauled his own water "in the good old days." Beloved son of parents Patricia Clare and James Francis Dooley, Tom was the third child, first boy of ten children. He was the oldest of four boys. Tom spent most of his childhood growing up in Maryvale, Arizona, where he served as an Alter Boy at St. Vincent De Paul. Tom attended Catholic schools in Phoenix, including Bourgade High School. Jobs of his youth included a paper route for the Arizona Republic & Gazette, along with mowing lawns. When not hard at work, Tom took things apart around the house to find out how they worked, including his mom's favorite clock. He followed his dad around the house and learned how to repair small appliances like toasters, waffle irons, but unfortunately for his mom, not clocks. He rode his bicycle everywhere in the valley, including all the way to South Mountain which he referred to as a "Bike Hike." When older he worked at Diamonds department store in the shoe department. Tom was an Usher at the Arizona State Fair Grounds Coliseum for Suns Basketball Games, the circus, Ice Capades, and entertainers such as THE OSMONDS. He loved buying, fixing up, and selling cars of all types. He attended Phoenix College for the basics, but his main love was the various elective courses, photography in particular. Tom followed in his father's footsteps, hiring on at Mountain Bell phone company (later US West, and currently CenturyLink). Tom was a cable splicer and eventually became supervisor of a cable splicing crew at the East Bell Road yard. He was involved in the first fiber optic cable installation in Phoenix and admitted to being the first one to BREAK the first fiber cable as well. OOOPS!

In 1978 Tom married the love of his life, Mitzi Dee Smith, already a resident of Cave Creek since the '60s. They met on a blind date arranged by a family friend. Mitzi received a phone call where a man said, "Hi, my name is Tom Dooley, and you don't know me, but..." Before their first date he called Mitzi and said he was rebuilding the tranny in his truck, so Mitzi volunteered to use her Mustang for the date. For their second date Tom showed up at Mitzi's door late and dirty because he'd stopped to help an elderly couple change their truck tire. She knew he was a keeper! Tom and Mitzi were married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Scottsdale on November 11th, 1978 and celebrated their 44th anniversary this year. Tom and Mitzi were blessed with two children, Dustin James and Jessica Marie. Tom took an early retirement from Mountain Bell to pursue his own fiber optic business full-time with his wife Mitzi. Together they lived a comfortable life in the desert, surrounded by family and friends. There wasn't anything that Tom couldn't find a new and improved way to engineer, repackage, or "funny it up." Tom was well known for having a "collection of neat stuff." Points of his personality included love of family, a great sense of humor, optimism, silliness, great work ethic, smart, quick, entertaining, witty, and hardworking. People often referred to him as the king of volunteering, a role model, handy, a jack of all trades, and "the keeper of all tools." If Tom didn't have what you needed, he would by tomorrow. He helped others, appreciated a challenge, was mechanically inclined, and always fit into any crowd. Mitzi was never concerned at gatherings with her girlfriends because Tom could strike up a conversation with any of the other men at any BBQ or potluck. Tom earned the coveted title of "neighborhood helper" with tractor projects, trimming trees, loading trash bins, moving dirt, digging up cactus, performing road work, and loaning out tools. Every year he put Santa hats on the neighborhood saguaros with his bucket truck. Not only was he generous with his time, but he also made everyone enjoy their time with him. He was quite the jokester, often saying "we don't need cash, we have UNCLE VISA!" Tom enjoyed fishing, camping, cycling, family vacations, motorcycles, ATVs, four-wheel drive vehicles and mountain biking. When his son Dusty was growing up, Tom dedicated multiple hours a week to being Cub Master of the Grand Canyon Theodore Roosevelt Troop 603 of Cave Creek for 4 and a half years. His wish was to get the parents involved as well and make it as entertaining and funny as possible. Being the Scout Master was his "license to be silly" with a great group of other volunteer Dads. He made elaborate Pinewood Derby cars with his son and friends in the troop. The Pinewood Derby cars were an opportunity for Tom's competitive yet humorous nature to really shine. To Tom, the challenge was not to make the fastest car, but rather the most ridiculously complex car that also went fastest when no one thought it was possible! Each car had a theme each year, like the "Great Doodini," and those silly derby cars are still admired and treasured to this day. Not only was Tom king of The Pinewood Derby, but he was pretty much the king of anything with wheels. Tom and his son Dustin rode in the Annual MS150 BEST DAM BIKE GET-TOGETHERS with colleagues from the phone company, and biking friends for several years. He rode many bicycle trails throughout Arizona with his son and other fellow riding friends. Over the years his passion for wheels morphed from ones he pedaled to machines that powered themselves. Tom's hobbies transitioned from motorcycles and ATCs, to quads, Ford Taurus SHO cars, sand rails, Turbo charged sand cars, and eventually Yamaha Rhinos equipped with bucket seats in the back for the Grandkids. He was an avid "Duner" at the Imperial Sand Dunes and was first in line at the drags. Tom loved "running" his toys at the cinders in the cool pines of Flagstaff, to blast down the dry lakebed, or run up Cherry Bowl. He was quick to make a dirt track in Dooleyville equipped with jumps and didn't mind the endless dirt clouds his Grandkids created. Tom made family RV camping memorable with the Rhinos at Lake Pleasant and on multi-day-long rides (overnighter) to Castle Hot Springs with his son and "favorite" son-in-law. Eventually Tom's passion landed on antique Ford tractors, mostly lined up as lawn art, tinkering for hours upon hours in his shop. Some of these tractors were functioning so he could give rides to the Grandkids, but others were just a special find or his project of the month. In his later years, Tom loved to volunteer, and did so often at the Cave Creek Museum. He shared his skills with many in need of a helping hand or just a good laugh. In April of 2018, Tom and Mitzi hosted an overnight camp-out on their property in Dooleyville for a group called the "Clampets" when the stamp mill was being dedicated to the Cave Creek Museum. He also really loved to read. He could read mysteries for hours, especially the Jack Reacher series, and mysteries by Vince Flynn. However, one of Tom's favorite daily enjoyments, was viewing his official sized windmill from the living room picture window of Dooleyville. With the help of his son Dusty and his great friend Paul Bott, Tom acquired a full-size windmill from the "76 Ranch" in Wilcox, AZ. Every Cinco De Mayo Tom and Mitzi hosted a neighborhood get-together on their "Partio." Everyone enjoyed ice cold Coronas with limes, Margaritas, and the great views of multiple windmills against the backdrop of Arizona sunsets. Tom's favorite saying was "I'm just happy to be here," and we were all happy to have been here with him.

Beloved son, brother, husband, father, and Grandfather (PaPu). Tom was proceeded in death by his parents James and Patricia. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Mitzi, son Dustin, daughter Jessica (Keith), grandsons Arthur and Clay, three brothers, Jim (Summer), John (Christina) and Richard (Yvonne), six sisters Patricia, Maryanne (Mark), Terri, Donna, Diane (Ron), and Kitty (Mark).

In Lieu of Flowers please make Donations in Tom's memory to the Cave Creek Museum: PO Box 1, Cave Creek AZ, 85327-0001. Visit for online condolences. Celebration of Life details to follow.


yvette molina wrote on Jan 11, 2023:

"What an amazing man I was so blessed to know. So many memories I will cherish forever. May you rest in Peace on the Tractor of your dreams. "

Jeff Grandprey wrote on Jan 7, 2023:

"Too many memories to even begin. The legacy Tom has created is far and wide. He taught me the art and rewards of "volunteering". He made work, fun and desirable. He made tools, cool. I'm fortunate and better, for having known Tom. But his mark on men and machines surrounds us. I need only look around, to the modified tools in my backyard, to the ideas he has encouraged, to the friends I have because of him, to the family that he and Mitzi created. His legend lives forever in my heart."

Dustin Dooley wrote on Dec 25, 2022:

"My Dad Let me tell you about my dad. He was a one of a kind man. He was a father figure to many. But was only my dad. They met in the ?70s, and married in ?78. They built a marriage, life, and love, that anyone would agree was great. In 1980 and again in 81 with a loving bond so strong. The biggest decision of all was made, and myself and sister came along. He was a bit old fashioned, and I sometimes felt he was tough on me. But he only wanted for me, to be the best that I could be. He was the best father you could ask for, and his advice, knowledge, and love was rightfully measured in tons. So it wasn?t long before his only daughter started her own family, and gave him two grandsons. He served in no wars, but fought a long, hard battle with cancers. And with all the doctors and all the questions, in the end they just had no more answers. He was a father, son, husband, brother, and best friend. To have to one day write these words down, would mean it was the end. I have lost my lifelong hero and that makes me truly sad. For his name is Tom and that?s the story of my one and only dad. Love- Your one and only son. "

Jessica Brock wrote on Dec 23, 2022:

"Memories with my PaPu, by Arthur, his ?Arthur-itis? Alligator Hunting ? How to Guide for every Grandpa and their Grandchildren What you?ll need: NERF gun (non-functional A-okay), black electrical tape, flashlight, reflective tape Instructions for your Grandpa: 1. Cut the reflective tape into the shapes of eyes, big ones, small ones, squinty and scary ones 2. Stick the reflective pairs of eyes on objects in your yard like large rocks, planters, tractors, and cactus 3. Tell your Grandsons that you have an invasion of alligators that you need their help eradicating before they overtake the house Instructions for you, the Grandchild 4. Pick the brightest flashlight from PaPu?s collection, he has a lot of them, so turn on every single one of them and shine them in your PaPu?s eyes to find out which one is the brightest and best for the job 5. Give your little brother the Maglite flashlight which is heavy and not as bright as your LED one, but convince him that it?s the coolest one 6. Grab your favorite NERF gun, the one that you got the foam bullet lodged in and can?t remove which is fine because alligators don?t die from bullets but from bright lights that are like lasers or light sabers or something 7. Tape the flashlight to the top of your NERF gun with the black electrical tape. Note - Black electrical tape is cut best with PaPu?s snips (and he always has them so just ask him to do it for you). Use way too much electrical tape because you are going to be running and you can?t stop to fix your flashlight or else the alligators will get you 8. Give an epic speech describing how NERF guns and flashlights kill alligators, talking in gibberish which most will claim is German, until you?ve convinced yourself you?re ready for the task 9. Turn on the flashlight, head into your Grandparents yard, and shine it around slowly as you sneak around 10. When you see the eyes of an alligator shining back at you, yell ?pew, pew? and run around screaming 11. Continue throughout the yard until the batteries wear out in the flashlight, or your PaPu wears out, whichever comes first "

Jessica Brock wrote on Dec 23, 2022:

"Memories with my PaPu, by Clay, his ?Clay-ache?n? My PaPu taught me how to properly get dried off after a bath, fish, and to hit a volleyball and every other sports that I love. When I was little, we used to take baths filled with bubbles and toys. My PaPu was a smart guy. He knew that I wouldn?t want to get out of the tub unless he also made getting out just as much fun as being in the tub. So, he and MiMi invented this routine where we would jump out of the tub, throw hooded towels over our head, and run full speed down their hallway to the living room yelling ?incoming? at the top of our lungs. We?d run straight to PaPu who was sitting at the foot of his recliner and then get put into a human drying machine where he wrapped us up, shook us, and scrubbed us frantically in our towels, sometimes upside down hanging by one leg. We?d giggle and laugh. When we were done getting dried, we?d scream ?outgoing? looking over our shoulders as we run back to the bathroom where we came to get our pajamas on with MiMi. By then my older brother had finished his bath and was usually running down the hallway with his towel over his head and we?d collide, crashing to the carpet in a fit of laughter, forgotten that we left fun toys in the tub. Not only was PaPu a master dryer, but he was also the best at putting bait and lures on my fishhook. He didn?t mind if I spent more time trading lures with my brother and organizing my tackle box than actually fishing. He also didn?t mind untangling my lines from a slimy rock, or the dock, or my brother. He would take my brother and I fishing at Lake Mary in Flagstaff, sometimes from a small boat and sometimes from the shore. We started with Lightning McQueen fishing rods that MiMi & PaPu got us, and I still love Lightning McQueen to this day. Sometimes fishing turned into tad pole hunting or toad collecting, but he always said we caught the best ones. He let us keep all our collections in buckets and Tupperware till they were nice and ripe for the ride home in their truck! Once we went to a fish hatchery near the Dooley cabin in Payson. There were so many fish I don?t think I even used anything on my hook. I caught the biggest fish there. I was so proud and PaPu let me tell EVERYONE at the fish hatchery about my fish being bigger than the one my bigger brother caught. He still took me fishing at some of the lakes in town, just him and me, when he started feeling not so good. By then I had graduated from the Lightning McQueen rod to a regular one, but it he still helped me cast and this time I didn?t mind that I didn?t catch the biggest one, or anything at all sometimes, because we were together. My PaPu set up a full-size volleyball court next to his workshop and he and MiMi would come out and watch us play with our Mom and Dad. One time my brother hit the volleyball with a closed fist and PaPu told us that if his high school volleyball coach saw him do that, he would be so mad. He taught us how to serve, set, and spike the ball the right way. I?ll always remember him cheering us on while we played volleyball in their yard or at one of my school sports games that he came and watched. I played my best at the outdoor games like football, soccer and baseball because he would drive all the way from Dooleyville to watch me even when he got sick and couldn?t watch me play Basketball in the gym anymore. PaPu would throw around the football with my Uncles, my Dad, brother and I. He even let us put ash from our cabin fireplace in lines under our eyes so that we played and looked like ?real football players.? He definitely was the "real PaPu? and always will be. "

Jessica Brock wrote on Dec 23, 2022:

"Memories with my Dad, by Jess, his ?Smile with Arms & Legs? My Dad was always the jokester and enjoyed the road of life despite bumps along the way. He always found ways to have fun with my brother and me, and eventually his Grand kids. He?d say, ?never take yourself or others too seriously? while crossing his eyes and scrunching up his bushy mustache. Besides teaching me the normal ?Dad? things, like how to drive a stick shift and change a tire, he also taught me to weld, the awesomeness of spreadsheets, and how to find the love of my life. He?d tell me, ?everybody?s different,? but thought highly of anyone that drove a white Ford. He made mundane tasks, like taking our trash to the dump, fun by singing along with my brother and I ?to the dump, to the dump, to the dump, dump, dump!? My Dad taught me many important things, like how to decorate the inside of the microwave with hot chocolate while Mom was away. My brother and I also learned that Santa Claus leaves boot prints from the chimney across your living room floor to the tree before the carpet gets installed, and rocks thrown on the roof sound a lot like reindeer hooves. My Dad loved reading and he passed that love of reading on to me. He would take me on what we called, ?Daddy-Daughter Dates,? one-on-one trips to the movies, camping at the river, or to tour the U of A campus. During one of our ?Daddy-Daughter Dates? he taught me how to rock the car side to side while driving with the gas gauge reading ?E? until you just barely make it to the gas station. This later inspired me to always carry a 1- gallon gas can in all my vehicles. He loved it when people were gullible, and despite his best efforts, I eventually learned that Hush Puppy brand shoes are NOT made from puppies. Dad was always a big trooper when it came to us kids. He turned a blind eye to me sneaking the kittens and cats into my room growing up, because he knew I loved them, even though he was highly allergic and would suffer terrible sneezing fits and watery eyes because of it. When I was in High School and exploring career tracks he said, ?find something you love to do then find someone that will pay you to do it.? He helped me build the steel frame structure for a huge mosaic tile piece of artwork during my senior year ? the project where I got good a MIG welding. When he was ?interviewing? my future husband, Dad made sure Keith knew the difference between fine and coarse thread bolts. He was correct in thinking that only someone who was mechanically inclined could marry his daughter that knew how to weld. Once the Grand kids came along, we began a tradition of a yearly ?Family Camp? every spring break at Lake Pleasant. This occurred usually around his first Grandson Arthur?s birthday, so he and MiMi would have the camping trailer decorated with the boys favorite Disney characters and PaPu always participated in the festivities. Naps with the Grand kids sprawled across his lap were his favorite way to recoup from all those festivities! The little quads, dirt bikes, golf carts, and tractors were always well maintained and ready when the Grand kids would visit. He even fabricated a custom oil drum ?barrel train? to pull his Grandsons, and any other young?ins in the neighborhood, around in. Each barrel cart would bounce up and down and turn sharply as he pulled them. He gave the best bumpy rides till the very end, when he just couldn?t take any more bumps in his own road."

Mitzi Dooley wrote on Dec 23, 2022:

"Dearest Tom, my Husband of forty-four years ? I miss you. I miss waking up beside you, your warm kiss, your smile, ?good morning my Honey?. I miss feeding the birds while enjoying our Coffee, banana & dark chocolate together, side by side. I miss our days together, side by side as a team, loving and supporting each other. I miss our happy times together and even the sad times ? knowing you were by my side. I miss the easy times and even the hard times knowing you were still there by my side. I miss you taking care of me and me taking care of you. I even miss our arguments. I miss our walks hand in hand, your family stories, your sense of humor and your wisdom I miss your loving smile, your voice, your laugh, your kisses, your hug, your strong arms around me I miss you telling me ?I love you?, ?you smell good?, ?I love your hand in mine?, ?I love our life together? I miss planning our day, our future, sharing our hopes, our dreams, even our worries and even regrets. I miss our evenings together side by side in the swing, feeding the bunnies while enjoying a cold Corona I miss you next to me in our double recliner, watching Romantic Comedies at the end of our day I miss watching our favorite Christmas movie, Love Actually every year ? our TRADITION I miss ending my day next to you, kissing you good night, hearing you tell me ?I love you, goodnight? I miss so many things about you, special things that made you, You. Made me, Me. And made us, Us. I will always miss you Tom, always remember you and always love you ? actually. Your Mitzi "