Cover photo for Michael Rushford's Obituary
Michael Rushford Profile Photo
1972 Michael 2021

Michael Rushford

December 31, 1972 — May 26, 2021

Michael David Rushford, age 48, of Vermontville, NY died Wednesday May 26, 2021 at Albany Medical Center.

Michael was born in Newport, Rhode Island on December 31,1972 the son of Roy and Karen Rushford. He excelled in school sports, especially football, wrestling and pole vaulting. He won several all-state awards, set many records, and was inducted to the Chariho High School sports hall of fame for track and field and wrestling. After high school, he married and had a daughter. He worked as a carpenter and later ran his own contracting company. Mike lived in Rhode Island until 2006 when he decided to take a walk to find another home. Looking at a map, he decided the geography of the Adirondacks was the best place to be. His journey ended in Saranac Lake where he met Sarah the following year. They enjoyed many years of camping, traveling, living off-grid and homesteading before welcoming their daughter Erica. Mike was incredibly proud of both his daughters.

Michael is survived by his companion of 14 years, Sarah Humphreys, and their daughter Erica Rushford of Vermontville, NY. His eldest daughter: Danielle Rushford of NY, and her son and daughter. Sister: Deanne Doucette of Richmond, RI. Niece: Leah Doucette of Richmond, RI. Nephew: Todd Doucette of Newport, RI. Parents: Roy and Karen Rushford of Richmond, RI.

Mike was preceded in death by his uncle Ralph DeCamp, his companion of 10 years, Joanne, and his ex-wife Pam.

Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY. A graveside funeral service will be held at Union Cemetery in Vermontville on Sunday, June 6th at 1pm, followed by a reception at his home nearby. Family and friends can view photos, share their memories, and sign the online guest book at www.fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.

As Michael loved the outdoors, the family requests anyone wanting to make donations in Michael's memory can donate to Michael's memory garden any plant, shrubs, flowers, or gift certificate to the Hhott house (to support this great charity). Please call the family with any questions or to determine the types of plants, flowers & shrubs Michael enjoyed most.

Eulogy for Michael Rushford

by Sarah Humphreys

Many of you gathered here today are in the unfortunate position of not having had the opportunity to say goodbye to Michael. He didn’t want to discuss his illness or its progression with many people, nor did he wish me to say too much. I found myself in the difficult position of having to decide whether to honor his wishes for privacy or notify people of his condition. I mostly did the former, as his condition largely broadcast itself to those who saw him in person. To those from further away, I truly apologize for not giving you more notice, as many didn’t even know how sick he was, or even that he was sick. Erica and I have had since January to get used to the idea of living without him, while most of you only found out within the last months or weeks or days. My position as partner and caretaker allowed me to mourn him in the present, in every last moment we shared. After an already surreal year of self-reflection and self-reliance, I felt my surroundings becoming extra vibrant, precious, and magnificent in their simplicity. As his health declined I felt my own becoming stronger. As I abstained from alcohol, he succumbed to it. Without discussing their significance, we experienced our last little everything. Meals, walks, hugs, slumbers, movies, cuddles, sunsets, songs. I had the privilege of relishing each one, knowing that it could be the last.

But now I see that they are not the last. Always a man larger than life, Mike has found a way to persist with me and find me in my dreams, as I suspected he might. Even on the morning of his death he came to me at the hotel to deliver the message that he was good. “I’m good” he said “I’m off of everything.” He looked healthy, strong, his color and muscle density restored. He seemed surprised that I was so surprised. I asked him how he got there and he didn’t know. Before we could discuss it further, the alarm went off. I’ve never had a great relationship with alarm clocks, but I was especially irritated with that one. When we went to visit him at the hospital a few hours later I told his unresponsive body that his mind had found me, that it worked, and that he was welcome to continue to visit me that way. But to not come in the morning so we can have a proper visit without getting interrupted. I have had two more dreams since, both brief. The last one was fairly mundane, discussing plans to do some shopping together. But I’ll take it, as I have taken everything from him, whatever he has to offer for as long as he has to offer it. And one day the dreams will stop and I’ll know that he has moved on.

And that’s just one example of how Mike was larger than life. His character was a walking exaggeration, an amplification of his essence. His voice carried over and above a crowd of talkers, always coming through as the loudest, the final word, the last anecdote. For everything you had to say had something to match it, compare it to from his life. His microphone was always on. And his stories were always true. He enjoyed making them sound so outlandish that people would assume they were false, like an inside joke with himself. Always the jokester, he wanted those around him to be merry. He confided to me that he has spent much of his life feeling prone to sadness and that he has had to consciously guard against it by keeping a good upbeat attitude. His best way of keeping himself happy was by keeping others happy. So what appeared as chronic altruism, helpfulness, paying forward and attending to the emotional needs of others was actually his way of serving himself and his needs. And perhaps that is how much of his exuberance and confidence was easily mistaken for pure ego, much like that of an actor on a stage. I told him that he was like several of his favorite movie characters put together. He had the survival skills of Crocodile Dundee, the cockiness of Indiana Jones, the animal nature of Grizzly Adams, the fighting skill and discipline of a samurai, the underestimated strength of Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse, the humor of the John Travolta as the angel Michael, the community glue of the DJ in Northern Exposure, and the general smoothness of Sean Connery (whom he was fond of imitating, to various degrees of success).

Ultimately, Michael crafted his own self out of the experiences in his lifetime. Perhaps going the first 16 years largely silent due to his stuttering accounts for his verbosity for the remaining 32. He spent his childhood making his own toys out of legos, running through the woods, and conditioning his body for school sports. He was always more comfortable in the outdoors. In moving in with me I always felt he was bending his nature to a domestic life with a roof. He walked north from Rhode Island to find a new home in the safety of the mountains. Had he not met me he would have spent the winter in an arctic tent with a wood stove. We compromised lifestyles by living off grid at the camp in Bangor. I never asked him to change, mostly because I never wanted to be disappointed if he didn’t. I knew his nature when we met and it didn’t change much until the day we parted. At least he was consistent. I could count on him to be true to himself and to me. I never questioned his fidelity or his love for me and Erica. I believed in him as a human, a father and an artist. He said that I taught him that he was an artist, not just a craftsman. That art was about the process and the journey you take to get to the end result. The project will tell you what the next step is and the artist has to listen and follow it to its conclusion. Such is life. Mike followed his to its natural conclusion. All this is as it should be. This wasn’t the first rodeo for Mike’s soul entity, and I know he will return in another Era, perhaps one even better suited to his nature. I wish him well, as we all do. Good luck next go around friend. We’ll be seeing you.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Michael Rushford, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Service

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Union Cemetery

State Route 3, NY



Interment service date and times are Tentative and subject to change

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Interment

Union Cemetery

State Route 3, NY



Burial will take place in Union Cemetery in Vermontville, NY.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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