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Thomas Rhea Cushman March 12, 1946 - September 2, 2020

Thomas Rhea Cushman

Once in a while you meet someone who exemplifies “Having Passion for Living.” For us it was Thomas Rhea Cushman who passed away quieter than any of us expected he would go on September 2, 2020.

He lived life with an authentic zeal that many of us strive for and few are able to achieve. Certain parts of his life were more integral to him than others (Florida Gators, US Marine Corps, his wife, children, skiing, and golf). If you had a brief interlude with him, you would see this love from the first moment.

He lived his life without apology and worked hard to make the world a better place. His career as a Marine, pilot, lawyer, prosecutor, legislator, judge, public defender, and water court special master was dedicated to making his country and Idaho safer and fairer. The American flag always flew; other flags he might choose depended on the day or season.

He had the rare quality of being the life of the party while being exceptionally private at the same time.  Because of this, you may not be aware of the things that made him the man who will be missed by our family, as well as Holland America cruise lines where he and Gail spent a considerable amount of time and money, and the Jameson Whiskey Distillery.

His parents A.Richard Cushman and JoAnn Ganey Finlay were New England natives.  As a boy, he was born and reared in New England with five siblings. Nan Schieber (Jon, Deceased), Mary Dinsmoor, (Andy), Austin “Dude” Cushman (Rose), Eugene Cushman (Ebet), Kate Cushman. Their family lineage that can be traced directly to the Mayflower, because of this he developed a deep appreciation and love for history, and could name all the presidents and vice-presidents in order, as well as recite the Gettysburg Address, and did at numerous awkward times according to his children.

He moved to Idaho after Law School with his wife, Gail. She is an Idaho native, he loved the small town  family oriented lifestyle Idaho offered.  His work life always centered around the law in Idaho, with time spent as a judge in Gooding, Idaho state legislator, a special master for the Snake River Basin Adjudication, Boise County prosecuting attorney, public defender in Orofino, and in private practice.

His interests spanned a wide spectrum.  He loved to cook, read, dance, sing, ski, golf and travel.  He dabbled in writing and wrote a book about his Vietnam service.  Never one to accept the norms or mediocrity, he custom made his own golf clubs, won dance contests, starred as the lead in Brigadoon with Pfizer Players, He did participate with multiple musical productions while living in New England.  He loved water, boating, and worked at Guthrie Beach and the Yacht Club for a couple of summers. As an adult in Idaho he would race down the hill from skiing to get in a quick nine holes.  He insisted on being surrounded with flowers, saying that flowers are the mark of civilization. The love of travel was shared with his lifelong companion and adventurer, Gail, and together, they visited all 50 states, 30ish countries, and all 7 continents.

He was particularly proud of his service to his country in the United States Marine Corps, but it was this service that ultimately took his life.  If you have a loved one who served in Vietnam, you may understand the power of Agent Orange.  That chemical reached her jagged hand through the decades and zapped him.

One of the hardest losses for us and possibly him was his loss of speech.  The other component it took was his independence and physical strength, but not his spirit. He was a Marine, through and through, never gave up, moving forward, never regretting the past.

He spent his last days at Idaho State Veterans Home, where he received excellent care. (It is ranked 2nd in the Nation for great care) Thank you to the Idaho State Veterans Home, especially, Matt and staff as well as CJ and Keystone Hospice staff.

He loved his wife Gail, kids, Elizabeth and Chris Hume (Eagle) and Cole and Pam (Nome, Alaska). His love of his grandkids was endless and Nathanial and Tommy Cushman, Roe and Maggie Hume are his proudest legacy.  He expected them to sing, dance, love flowers, learn the Gettysburg Address, and be able to name the vice presidents, in order! Oh, and always be first in everything!  He also leaves behind his siblings, many cousins, 24 nieces and nephews their spouses and children.

Tom and Gail were married for 53 years and never looked back.

He spent his life all in with whatever he was doing, he scrambled for odd jobs as a kid, worked several jobs as a teenager, learned to pilot and later instruct in the Military. As a Law professional he was an active leader in his communities.  He was never one to hide quietly in the corner.  His life was spent with a competitive spirit and always strove to win the argument or have the last word.  He spent his last years mostly silent.  Perhaps his last word was how he demonstrated to his family to accept the things you cannot change and to live with grace and honor in your last days.

Semper Fi, Tom…Always faithful, always loved.

March 12, 1946- September 02, 2020

His favorite charities were the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and St. Jude’s.

His family asks if you wish to honor his memory to do so with:

Marine Corps Toys for Tots:  https://toysfortots.org/donate/forms/simple/Default.aspx

St. Judes: https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html?sc_icid=wtg-lz-donatenow

Services will be September 22, 2020 at the Idaho Veteran Cemetery   2pm.  Please click on the following link to watch the Committal Service:  https://vimeo.com/460750031

A celebration of life will be scheduled in 2021 after all of the craziness settles down. To be added to the invite list please email TCushmanLaw@yahoo.com

Arrangements are under the direction of Bowman Funeral Parlor of Garden City.

Services will be September 22, 2020 at the Idaho Veteran Cemetery   2pm.  Please click on the following link to watch the Committal Service:  https://vimeo.com/460750031

A celebration of life will be scheduled in 2021 after all of the craziness settles down. To be added to the invite list please email TCushmanLaw@yahoo.com

Condolences(15)

  1. REPLY
    Shirley McCracken-Hanes says

    Gail, may you have comfort in your memories. I worked with you in Jerome at the high school and my daughter tended your dogs when you and Tom had to be away. He was a very nice man and you could see the love he had for his animals. God bless you and your family and know that others are thinking of you in your loss.

    • REPLY
      Gail says

      Thank you, Shirley…Of course, I remember you and your children! Thank you.

  2. REPLY
    Marcie Hoelzle says

    Gail, Elizabeth and Cole, my sincere condolences to you all. Tom was a great man and will be truly missed by all he touched with his humor, knowledge and ethic. I learned so much from working with Tom and he was a great boss. I am glad we all remained lifelong friends. My love and hugs to you all.
    I am sorry I can not travel to Boise for his service as I live with my 86 yr old mother and I am needed here in Washington. But I will be there in spirit and with love. Marcie

    • REPLY
      Gail Cushman says

      Thank you! He loved working with you and Diane… and I appreciated you putting up with his foolishness!

  3. REPLY
    David Pratt says

    I did not know Tom, but did know his wife Gail Decker and her brother Tom Decker from school days in the 50s and 60’s in Emmett, Idaho. All wonderful people and I give them condolences. I was in the navy for 22 years and was around marines for 10 of them. For Tom, Semper Fi!

    • REPLY
      Gail Cushman says

      Thanks, David, I am sorry you did not meet Tom…he was a Marine’s Marine…He loved “the Squids” as he called your branch of service…He served on the USS Iwo Jima during Vietnam. Gail

  4. REPLY
    Gail Cushman says

    Thanks, David…I’m sorry you never met Tom. He was a Marine’s Marine…and did okay with the “squids” as he referred to your branch of the service. He floated on the USS Iwo Jima during his tour in Vietnam. Again, Thank you! Gail

  5. REPLY
    Marie Miller says

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr Cushman. I am a volunteer at the Idaho State Veterans Home and haven’t been able to see any of the residents since March because of Covid. I always enjoyed helping out my brother Marine and after reading his summarized life story in his obituary, I feel quite honored to have known him! God rest his soul. Semper Fidelis. (Semper Fi to you too Gail!)

    • REPLY
      Gail says

      Thank you for your kind words… The ISVH misses its volunteers, believe me. …thank you for helping them and hopefully COVID will leave soon. Semper fi!

  6. REPLY
    Karla Wade says

    Gail, my sympathy and prayers go out to you and your family. He had a life well lived and it sounds like he lived it to the fullest.

    Karla Wade
    Gooding

    • REPLY
      Gail says

      Thank you, Karla…he lived a very full life, the way lives are meant to be lived but seldom are! I appreciate your taking the time to write your message! Gail

  7. REPLY
    Susan Sanders Jenkins says

    Gail, we are so sorry for your loss. Both you and Tom have had a huge, positive impact on this world together as one. What an incredible life well-lived and what a blessing to so many. Your beautiful words sharing his life and accomplishments conveyed a sense of grace and peace beyond the pain. My love to you and your family Gail. Sincere and heartfelt sympathy to you all.
    Susan and Larry Jenkins Emmett

  8. REPLY
    Gail says

    Hi Susan…thank you! My family and I appreciate your kind words…

  9. REPLY
    Gene & Carolyn Herzinger says

    Dear Gail, Elizabeth, Cole and families,
    We just read of Tom’s passing. Our condolences to all of you. So sorry for your loss. He accomplished many things and touched many lives with his interests and activities. God’s blessings to comfort you and bring you peace. May memories, love from family and friends also bring you comfort and strength for each day ahead.
    With love and sympathy,

    • REPLY
      Gail Cushman says

      Hi Carolyn, Thank you for the nice note…He loved what he did and it was kind of so many people to acknowledge his successes. Good to hear from you! Gail

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