On Aug. 21, 2021, Michael Kuchenbrod, beloved son, brother, and uncle passed away at the age of 57.
Mike was born on June 19, 1964 in Whitefish, Montana, to his loving parents Ron and Pat Kuchenbrod. Growing up in Whitefish, he and his sisters had a fun-filled childhood and could often be found outside playing games with neighborhood and school friends. Mike almost always had a ball in his hand, as he loved baseball, basketball and golf. He was a gifted high school athlete and excelled in basketball and golf. His mom, dad and three sisters were his biggest supporters and were always happy to hang in the gym cheering for him and the Bulldogs. He was also a scholar, and graduated from Whitefish High School in 1982. He was known as “Kuch” by all who loved him.
After high school, Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Montana State University and his MBA from USC. He had a 27-year career with ITT and Xylem which included President and General Manager of Koni, President of ICS, President of China/India Operations and finally President of Xylem’s Water Solutions. Mike’s career took him to live all over the world including the Netherlands, Germany, China and Sweden. In 2008, while Mike was working for ITT in China, his company donated supplies to a group of school-aged children in the impoverished county of Yi. He personally visited the school and was quoted as saying, “It will be a day I remember forever, and a day that I felt very proud to be associated with ITT.” Mike was a successful businessman, but more importantly, he was a kind and generous man.
Family and friends were everything to Mike. Although his job took him all over the world, he never missed coming home for Christmas to be with his family in Whitefish. His nieces and nephews adored him and he loved hearing about all of their activities and accomplishments. He made his home in Orange County, California and had many close friends that became his second family. Mike’s immediate family has enjoyed hearing stories that these and other friends have shared, and are touched by how much he was loved.
Mike leaves behind his devoted parents Ron and Pat Kuchenbrod, three adoring sisters, Karen Umbaugh, Janet Espeseth, and Krista Schulz, and two brothers-in-law that were his brothers; Doug Umbaugh and Scott Espeseth. He also leaves behind his beloved nieces and nephews: Kelly (Charlie) Adams and Julie (Dylan) Lemmons; Marlow, Allie and Lauren Schulz; and Millie, Ty and Griffin Espeseth.
We will miss his quick wit, his teasing and infectious laugh, the heart-to-heart chats and debates, the laughs, and of course the rounds of golf. We are proud of him for all that he accomplished and are grateful that he was ours. He made us all better. He was an intelligent, talented, generous and kind man. He was deeply loved and will be terribly missed. His family is planning a private celebration in Whitefish at a later date.