Michael Brunick
Michael Brunick

Obituary of Michael D. Brunick

Michael D. Brunick, 68, passed away on January 17, 2022, surrounded by his loving family. Michael was born January 30, 1953, to Dale M. and Wilma Mae (Manning) Brunick. He spent his childhood years in Black Hawk, South Dakota. His inquisitive mind gave him the ability to learn new skills, which continued throughout his life. He never shied away from a challenge. By age 12, he had already learned to weld and enjoyed drawing plans for future inventions. Michael had a wide variety of interests. As a young man he loved working on cars, especially Jeeps, and could fix, design, build, or repair just about anything. He excelled in sports as a student at West Jr. High and Stevens High School in Rapid City, South Dakota. After the devastating Rapid City flood, 19-year-old Michael was commended by First Lady Pat Nixon for his part in helping with the rescue efforts, having backpacked into the Black Hills and brought out at least eight people from the flooded areas. “You volunteers have been so wonderful,” she told Michael. Michael’s love for rock and roll music brought him to work as a sound technician with Rapid City band Whitewing. He later worked with his cousin Cliff doing timber cutting in the Black Hills, and then at Northwest Bell as linemen. He then moved to the Pacific Northwest and continued working in the logging industry. He met and married Theresa Golden in 1979 and they had two daughters, Heather and Jennifer. Michael started a company in the cellular field in the early 80’s, when the industry was just taking off. He then joined forces with friend and partner, Tommie Carpenter, at Microwave Tower Services, a cell tower construction company. During his time at MTS, Michael invented a component that helped speed up the tower building process.. In 2003, Michael reconnected with Jeanne (Lere) Apelseth, his good friend from younger years, and they became inseparable. He became a beloved “bonus father” to Jeanne’s daughter, Christina, and son, Espen. Michael and Jeanne finally married August 16, 2020, after a historically long engagement. They liked to joke that they were just trying things out. Due to COVID, the wedding was conducted via Zoom with their daughter, Christina Apelseth, officiating. Michael never stopped learning. In his retirement, Michael taught himself printmaking, photo manipulation, metalworking, and jewelry design so that he and Jeanne could share more time and their creative skills together. Michael was diagnosed with lung disease soon after they reconnected, so Jeanne became his caregiver and advocate and was by his side until his recent passing. An extraordinary man, Michael had an endless curiosity and a passion for life and adventure. He had a huge heart of gold, limitless generosity, captivating charm, and natural charisma that drew people to him. Michael was a storyteller and entertained everyone who knew him with the stories of his life. His knowledge knew no bounds. He loved to joke that his brain was full of useless information and that he was a human trivia machine. He had a wicked sense of humor and an infectious laugh. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Jeanne Apelseth (Queen Creek, AZ); daughter, Heather Oliver and husband, Braheim Oliver; grandchildren, Shayla and Kayden (Mesa, AZ); daughter, Jennifer Brunick; grandchildren, Arayah and Zion (Las Vegas, NV); sister, Dodie Noordermeer (Pierre, SD); nephew, Cory Noordermeer (Boise, ID); stepdaughter, Christina Apelseth (Arlington, VA); stepson, Espen Apelseth (Stavanger, Norway); and mother-in-law, Dawn Mazzio (Rapid City, SD). He was preceded in death by his beloved mother Mae Brunick, father Dale Brunick, grandparents, and cousin. He will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to know and love him. The family will hold a private celebration of life ceremony at Michael’s request. Memorials may be made to Second Wind Lung Transplant Support Services at: https://www.2ndwind.org/donate/ (Second Wind Lung Transplant Association, Inc., Sarah Ridder, Treasurer, 3590 Beckwith Lane, Crete, IL, 60417)
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