5/10/1990 – 8/31/2022
It is with extreme sadness that we announce the unexpected passing of Michael Rush Westheffer, 32, on August 31, 2022. He was a bright spark in this world and will be deeply missed by many.
There will be a Celebration of Life held in his honor at Venue 1235 located at 1235 N. 3rd Street, Lawrence, Kansas on Sunday, September 11, 2022 from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. We will have some of his favorite music playing and an open forum for people to share their fondest memories.
Michael was born to his parents Murl and Carla Westheffer, on May 10, 1990 in Lawrence, Kansas. Mike attended Grant School and was part of the last graduating class. He then attended Central Junior High School, now known as Liberty Memorial Middle School, where he discovered new friends and football – they played ironman football playing both sides of the ball. He was part of the select Excalibur choir and enjoyed playing the violin in the orchestra. He graduated from Lawrence Free State High School in 2008. While at high school he loved meeting people, lettering in football, and let’s be honest having fun wherever that took him – including his hosting some epic parties.
He went on to attend Washburn University, where he played football for a short time and then focused on majoring in business.
As was his nature, he was always up for a new adventure and rose to the challenge of learning Mixed Martial Arts. He liked to test his abilities and tried anything with daring enthusiasm.
Later, he has a great time working at the Oread Hotel in security when it first opened and then later went on to work in the music industry for Janek Stage Solutions-where his nickname was Thor because he was so tall, blonde, and always swinging a hammer. He helped to build big stages for arena rock shows and hang stage lights, including the Rolling Stones Show at Arrowhead, which was such a memorable experience. It was working in this industry and his penchant for throwing some awesome parties that first gave Mike the idea to repurpose the family’s building as a music venue where he held a few events eventually leading up to the blowout Wiz Khalifa show that so many remember!
He loved helping during harvest driving trucks to the grain elevator and being among all the aspects of farming. He worked for the family business including farming and property management.
Mike had a keen sense of humor and a beautiful, infectious smile and laugh! His wit was razor sharp, and he was known to say the most shocking thing he could think of, in hopes of helping you see things differently or just to get a reaction.
He was known for his friendliness and was never shy about letting people know that he loved them. Connecting with others was one of his gifts. Mike was generous and had a heart of gold, never hesitating to help people out. For example, he loved food and was a great cook and would without exception share food with anyone! Always curious, he loved learning about new things and was interested in so many things. Some of his many passions were his love of nature and the outdoors; movies, of which he could recite lines from memory mostly from 90’s films, John Wayne movies, and the old-time classics; tattoos; video games like Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Madden, SSX Tricky among others, but above all music was his greatest Passion. From just playing his guitar to listening, promoting, and devouring all types of music – his taste in music was extremely eclectic, including genres from rap and hip-hop to EDM to metal to country to Irish folk music to Frank Sinatra and classic rock. He was quite the aficionado and had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of so many details, being able to name songs, titles of albums, members of bands, and other minute specifics. As a nod to his beloved 70’s classic rock, he loved wearing his blonde hair long. He shared all of his passions to all that would listen, especially for music, and would do anything for anyone.
Always active and energetic, he loved snowboarding, jet-skiing, dirt biking, riding horses and even recently riding a bull! Having a friendly demeanor, Mike never treated anyone like a stranger and would always make you feel welcomed. He never let anyone feel left out. It was said that he greeted everyone with a “How ‘ya doin’ brother?” and a big bear hug. Always up for a good dare, he would do just about anything for a laugh. He could make you laugh even when you were mad at him.
We know that Mike is surrounded by the love of his grandparents, Don and Wanda Westheffer, and Carl and Norraine Amerine, and his uncles, Gary Westheffer and Rance Amerine who passed before him.
Left to cherish his memory are his parents, Murl and Carla Westheffer, brothers Murl Jr. and his fiancée, Kelsey Shultz and Chase and his wife, Haylee, all of Lawrence and his uncle, Michael Amerine, Perry and his beloved dogs, Luchador and Cali and many close friends who were like family to him.
Mike was a deeply loving, giving, and caring soul. Anyone that truly knew him, knew he had such a big heart. Mike was larger than life and his shoes cannot be filled – literally as he wore a size 16!
He was proud of having a relationship with God and of his bible, as he read it regularly. Never wanting to be far from home for any great length of time, we take comfort in knowing that Mike is now at peace surrounded by loved ones in his final home with the Lord. May he rest in peace.
Donations may be made to the Michael Rush Westheffer Memorial Fund in care of the Warren-McElwain Mortuary at 120 W 13th St, Lawrence, KS 66044. Or you can visit this link.
Please visit the memorial Facebook site and share your funny stories, good memories, and pictures to help ease the loss for his family. Or for those that do not have access to Facebook, then please use the Warren-McElwain Mortuary site at warrenmcelwain.com.
Being such a social, friendly, and fun-loving soul, Mike would invite all to raise a glass to toast a high-spirited and vibrant life, a swift ascent to heaven, and above all to cherish life and your loved ones!
“A life that touches others goes on forever.”
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