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Col. Michael Endres (1964-2012): The Passing of Beloved Friend and Colleague

February 1, 2013 by George W. Bush Presidential Center

The little community that has developed around the George W. Bush Presidential Center over the past few years was shocked this morning by a tragic event: the death of a beloved friend and colleague. Colonel Michael Endres, a highly decorated 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army who headed the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative, died suddenly in Dallas, the city that had become home since Mike, his wife Cheryl, and his daughter Taylor moved here only months ago. He was 48 years old. Mike was the initiative’s first director, and he was already laying the foundation for a broad and powerful program. He was hard at work on the second annual Warrior Open, less than three weeks away. In a statement on the passing of Col. Endres, President Bush said that, in the military, Mike had “served his country with honor and distinction” and that “he continued to serve his fellow men and women in uniform through his work at the Bush Institute.” The President added, “It was a privilege to know him. I was impressed by his love of family and country, his integrity and enthusiasm, and his commitment to the cause of freedom. He was an important member of our team and a friend who will be dearly missed.” Col. Endres served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He earned two Master’s degrees and joined the Bush Institute from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he had been deputy director of admissions. A big part of his job was attracting African-Americans to West Point, his own alma mater. His success in that work was part of what we found attractive about Mike. But there was much more. He was a cheerful, outgoing  man, with a dry sense of humor and a passion for service. He loved his job, and we loved him. Just yesterday, hours before his death, he sent a memo to members of the Warrior Open task force, thanking them (that’s what Mike did all the time) for their “tenacity, professionalism, attention to detail, and overall willingness to ‘get it right’” (a good description of some of Mike’s own qualities). He continued: “Before any major events in my life, I have tried over time to make a habit of ‘offering it up’ for someone close in my mind or in my heart. Major Tom Kennedy, US Army, and his family are my personal selections for this event, and have me focused on what really matters. Tom was a remarkable Solider, Husband, and Father and was killed in Afghanistan recently by a suicide bomber. I was proud and honored to call him friend…. I offer this reflective technique to any of you fellow leaders, if you find it helpful. It has worked for me to stay centered.” Mike, we at the George W. Bush Center will be “offering it up” for you, dear friend. As we go about our work trying to make this a better world, it is you who will keep us inspired and centered. We wish we had known you longer, but you made an impression on our lives forever.


George W. Bush Presidential Center



As the 13th presidential library, the Bush Library and Museum promotes an understanding of the American presidency, examines the specific time in history during which President Bush served, and provides access to official records and artifacts from the Bush Administration.



The Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan policy organization that cultivates leaders, fosters policies to solve today’s most pressing challenges, and takes action to save and change lives. Our work is inspired by the principles that guide President and Mrs. Bush in public life.

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