More detail on this person: Michael Bruce Brush, 71, died February 17, 2020, following a brave battle with pancreatic cancer. As he wished, he died at home surrounded by the family and friends who were with him in his last days. Mike was born, April 1, 1948, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the second of five children born to Bruce Beverly Brush and Darlene Bowerbank Brush. His two sisters, Kathy and Becky, and two brothers, Bevin and Greg, grew up in Idaho Falls with a doting mother and musician father who introduced them to music, the outdoors he would come to love so much and an insatiable zest for learning. After graduating from Idaho Falls High School he attended two years at Utah State University before enlisting in the U.S. Army, ultimately graduating from Idaho State University with a degree in psychology. Mike served in the Army Air Calvary as a helicopter pilot, achieving the rank of Chief Warrant Officer and earning numerous awards for his bravery. On the day of his final mission, he was recognized as "a courageous aviator, possessing specialized capabilities and combat experience." In describing the mission, the commendation noted that in spite of heavy enemy fire, he "disregarded the dangerous conditions and flew towards the objective in order to support the operational forces. His aircraft was hit by enemy fire and he was wounded. Nevertheless, he maintained control of his airship and landed it safely. He joined up with Vietnamese forces on the ground and fought fiercely at their side until they were rescued." They noted that his bravery and outstanding ability heightened the spirit of solidarity between Vietnamese and American forces. For this he received commendations from the US and Vietnamese military. He rarely mentioned his time in the war, and never spoke of his brave acts but it clearly shaped his life and started him on the road to service to his country. Both before and after his time in the service he managed to cheat death on a regular basis. He walked away from a head on collision with a horse, suffered scrapes and bruises when he drove his mountain bike off a cliff, and escaped when the car he was riding in went into the Southfork of the Payette above Kirkham Hot Springs. After graduation from college, Mike joined the Idaho Department of Employment helping other veterans' transition into civilian life. It was while working there that he transferred to Boise where he began his administrative career with the State of Idaho. He held various positions with the Department of Employment, served as an Administrator with the Department of Administration and ultimately served as the Executive Director of the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund in the State Insurance Fund. As a young man, he was honored to work on the staff of Governor John Evans. He also had the opportunity to serve as campaign staff to Glenn Nichols in his run for Congress and joined him in the walk from the Canadian to the Nevada border. Many lifelong friends were made during this time both off and on the job. Mike married his wife of nearly forty years, Cheryl Plummer Brush in Boise where they celebrated their reception at the home of Bill and Leandra Burns. Together they raised two daughters, Kristin and Hailey He had 5 grandchildren Tristan, Cameron, Maddie, Paitynn and Abbey. It was with his grandchildren that he found so much joy. He loved to play the old curmudgeon but his grandchildren brought out his soft side. And, they knew him as the Papa who could do anything. He never tried to dissuade them of that. Mike, or Big Mike as he was affectionately known, loved the time spent with family and friends - much of it in the outdoors. For years, he organized big camping and fishing trips, introducing first children then grandchildren to the wonders of nature. There were the big Chemeketan trips in the Sawtooths that were huge gatherings of family and friends, young and old, summers in Grandjean and camps in some of the most remote areas that could be found. We often thought the Brush brothers were competing to see who could find the most dangerous spots to camp, the furthest away from civilization. During these trips, there were many 4-wheeler adventures followed by long nights of pinochle, often with friends Sallie and Ron Lester. He was a passionate golfer in his younger years, often traveling with his friends to courses far and near. His time with Jeff Wilson and Carl Nelson and their friend Freddie, was equally split between time on the course and time in the bar. Mike also valued his friends and friendly debates at O'Michael's, his favored watering hole for many years. Mike always looked forward to his annual elk hunting trips only missing in his last year. These trips most often with friends Dale Blakely and Pat Duffey would begin with early scouting, archery hunting and finally hunting with his rifle. There seemed to be as many tales about the campfire as there were about hunting, but at least someone in the group would bring home an elk. He fished on Idaho's rivers and lakes and the Canadian and Alaska wilderness. And, yes, he brought home the big ones on these trips too. Mike and Cheryl were avid Bronco fans, maintained their season tickets for years and followed the team to their bowl games every year including his last. They made many trips together and with friends to Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii and Friday Harbor. His favorite trip was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He would have returned had his body allowed it. It was his life time dream to own a cabin in the woods and he finally achieved it when he found the Tree House in New Meadows, conveniently near dear friends Jeff and Brenda Wilson. He was so excited to find a place that was only partially finished and needed so much work. He spent years researching and finishing the basement - mostly - with a huge man cave where he envisioned entertaining friends and watching the big screen. When he retired, he considered the cabin his home. It was there that he found his peace. Mike is survived by his wife Cheryl, daughter Kristin Brush McGee and grandchildren Tristan Judd, Cameron Ernest, Maddie McGee, Paitynn Ernest, and Abbey McGee, sisters Kathy Parker (Douglas), Becky Holzemer (Mike), and brothers Bevin Brush (Denise), and Greg Brush, his mother-in law Mary Ann Plummer and nieces and nephews Justin Plummer, Karri Plummer, John Parker, Kelly Parker, and Leandra Cisneros. He was preceded in death by his parents Bruce and Darlene Brush, his father-in-law Harvey Plummer, his daughter Hailey Michelle Ernest and his infant son, Brandon Michael. The family would like to thank the Boise VA Medical Center staff who provided excellent care throughout his illness. We would especially like to thank the oncology team who were unwaveringly supportive and compassionate during this long effort. Dr. Paul Montgomery, Becca, his P.A., and nurses Anthony, Nancy and Sandy are exceptional caregivers in every sense of the word - they made this difficult journey so much easier. We would also like to thank the St. Luke's hospice team Kayla, Jennifer and Anna as well as the nurses who stopped by regularly and the wonderful team of Brightstar who cared for him in the final week. Thanks too to our many friends who paid visits, brought meals and did errands when we were unable to do so. We found great comfort being surrounded by such kindness. Military honors will be bestowed at a brief inurnment ceremony at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, 10100 Horseshoe Bend Road, Boise at 11:00 am on Friday, February 28th followed by a Celebration of Life at Beside Bardenay, 612 W Grove, Boise. Those wishing to offer memorials to Mike may make donations in his name to the Idaho Veteran's Research and Education Foundation, Boise State Football, or a charity of your choice.
Burial information: Idaho State Veterans Cemetery, Boise, ID
This information was last updated 04/13/2020
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 07/01/2020
Copyright © 1998 - 2020 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association