Brian J. Rutherford | January 1954 – February 2023
Brian Rutherford passed away at 7:15 AM on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, in Kirkland, WA. He was 69.
Born and raised in Renton, WA, Brian’s interest in physical fitness and a diehard commitment to speed and outdoor pursuits made him legendary among his friends and family. From bird hunting in Eastern Washington with his father as a boy to charging hard down Crystal Mountain’s steep frontside on skis to riding a motorcycle at 160 MPH, Brian loved testing his limits and sharing his experiences with his loving family and the lifelong friends he viewed with great respect and admiration.
Before graduating from Renton High School in 1972, Brian raced for the Alpental and Crystal Mountain ski teams, an endeavor that set the tone for a lifetime devotion to alpine skiing. Recording 70+ days at Crystal Mountain every year for five decades, he seemed equally thrilled whether guiding family members of intermediate skill through the resort’s more gentle terrain or hiking into its fabled backcountry with a fraternal group of mountain rats. Brian was among the most gifted in a place cluttered with strong skiers.
Off-season training began with fast five-mile runs during lunch breaks from his dental practice. Eventually, it led to road cycling centuries from his home in Woodinville to Paradise on the southern slope of Mt. Rainier. His desire for speed stoked his passion for German sports cars, Italian motorcycles, and private aviation. He earned his instrument flight rating in a Cessna 206 previously owned by his father, a decorated WWII fighter pilot. In 2018, Brian attended the Jet Warbird Training School in Santa Fe, NM, where he spent a week flying the L39 Albatross, a Czechoslovakian jet trainer used in the film Top Gun: Maverick. The L39 has a top speed that approaches 500 MPH.
A creature of habit, Brian washed his car several times each week while listening to AC/DC and other beloved classic rock bands playing through speakers in the garage. When his chores were complete, he would retire to the family room to watch—yet again—the replay of one of his favorite movies. The shortlist included Tombstone, Predator, The Terminator and the iconic ski film The Blizzard of Ahhs.
A zoology major at the University of Washington, Brian was a member of the Delta Chi fraternity and graduated in 1976. He immediately enrolled in UW’s School of Dentistry and co-founded Mill Creek Family Dentistry four years later. In 42 years of private practice, Brian’s interest in implant and cosmetic dentistry gave beautiful and confident smiles to patients whose lives were often drastically improved by his artistry and compassion.
With his wife and son, Brian found peace and happiness in regular trips to Sun Valley, ID, the Hawaiian Islands and especially the Rutherford family cabin on Washington’s remote Stuart Island, where he cooked breakfast for the family each morning and enjoyed exploring the secluded setting.
Brian was preceded in death by his parents, Jerry and Ellie Rutherford. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Michele Rutherford, whom he met on a blind date in 1974; son, Peter Rutherford; and older sisters, Jerene Battisti (Jerry) and Marcia Rutherford.
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