|Michael Philip Rushing
|July 24, 1956
|June 2, 2023 (aged 66)
|Valencia Community College (AA degree), Florida Technological University
|Columnist for Orlando Weekly, Night auditor at Orlando Sheraton Twin Towers, Employee at The Southland Corporation
|Ocala, Florida (last known)
Michael Philip Rushing (July 24, 1956 — June 2, 2023) was an American Libertarian and columnist from Florida. Best known for his column "Getting It Right with Downtown Mike" in the Orlando Weekly, Rushing's life story is a testament to his unwavering faith, love for community, and his contribution to Florida's political and cultural landscapes.
Born in Gainesville, Florida, to parents Joe and Margaret Rushing, Rushing's early life was rooted in Winter Garden. He attended Winter Garden and Dillard Street Elementary Schools, and he was deeply involved in religious activities from a young age, having been saved and baptized at Starke Lake Baptist Church in Ocoee at age 5.
During his high school years at Lakeview High School, Rushing became a member of the Interact Club. Like many young men in Winter Garden at the time, he worked in the groves, ensuring the protection of the oranges.
Education and Career
Rushing's educational journey started with an early admission to Valencia Community College, where he earned an AA degree. Later, he attended Florida Technological University. Throughout his career, he held various positions, with a notable stint as a night auditor at the Orlando Sheraton Twin Towers. Before his retirement on disability in 1989, he also worked for The Southland Corporation.
Rushing's passion for libertarian ideals led him to become actively involved in the Libertarian Party. His influence and voice in the community were further amplified when he began writing his column "Getting It Right with Downtown Mike" for the Orlando Weekly.
Personal Life and Interests
After living in Orlando for over three decades, Rushing moved back to Ocoee and then to Ocala for more comprehensive nursing care. His life outside of work and politics was defined by his faith, friendships, and a rich tapestry of interests. These included a love for classic hymns, ‘70s rock and country music, spy novels, and westerns. His admiration for religious figures like Martin Luther, Dr. Vernon McGee, and Dr. Jeffrey Moore of Trinity Lutheran Church was evident.
Spirituality, Legacy, and Family
Rushing often turned to the Bible for solace and guidance. One of his favorite verses was Isaiah 40:31, which beautifully captures his enduring spirit: "... they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles ..."
Rushing was preceded in death by his father, Joe Rushing, and his paternal and maternal grandparents. He is survived by his mother, Margaret, siblings Beth, Ken, Van, and Kim, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and other close family members.