Our hearts were broken on June 4th, 2023 when Dr. Michael Bingham passed away after a 15 month battle with pancreatic cancer.
Mike was born October 25th, 1956, to Ronald and Verlee Bingham in Nampa, Idaho. He was the 3rd out of 4 children and has three sisters, Diana, Debra, and Sheri. He relayed many fun stories of his childhood in Idaho and spending time during the summer with his cousins in Rupert, Idaho. His father worked for the Amalgamated Sugar Company and when Mike was 14 was transferred to Ogden, Utah. Mike was so upset about the move because he was excited to get his driver license at 15 in Idaho but then had to wait until he was 16 in Utah!
Mike graduated from Ben Lomond High school in 1975 and made long lasting friendships there. In high school, he studied Spanish and was fortunate to have a Spanish teacher relative who organized study tours to Mexico, which Mike was able to join. He and his friends were very proud to be in MABL (Motorcycle Association of Ben Lomond). Mike LOVED motorcycles and rode around and in the hills above Ogden as much as he could.
After high school, Mike served a LDS mission to El Salvador and Guatemala. His time studying in Mexico and living in the countries in Central America gave him a great love for the people there and their culture. He was always grateful to have had those experiences.
Mike attended college at Weber State in Ogden, Utah and enrolled in the nursing program. Mike graduated with his Registered Nurse (RN) degree, and then continued to earn his Bachelor's Degree in the Pre-Dental Program. He completed his education at Case Western School of Dentistry in Cleveland, Ohio, graduating with his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) Degree, in 1987.
Mike met Kathi Nielson as they were both taking some of the same courses at Weber State and commiserating about the same professors. Mike and Kathi were married on March 16th, 1979, in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. They were blessed with 2 beautiful and perfect children, Christopher and Stephanie.
Their family made the move to Ohio for dental school and then back to the Salt Lake area after graduation where Mike opened his dental practice. After the practice was up and running for a few years, Kathi started to work there “temporarily” to help out. That lasted until he passed away. For 34 years they worked side by side and successfully built the patient-friendly dental practice Mike envisioned. He loved helping people and had such great joy helping his patients feel better and seeing them smile more. For the last 8 years or so, it was just the two of them running the dental office…and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mike was blessed with two grandchildren, Samuel and Cassie. When his son-in-law, Jake, tragically passed away from cancer in 2016, Mike did everything he could to help fill the void for Sam and Cassie and they became very close. Mike’s greatest joy was his family.
Mike had a deep love of music that was instilled in him from his parents. He played the piano, guitar, and trumpet and loved to sing. He was always searching out new music to listen to, or learn how to play, or sing in the car with Kathi. He loved reminiscing while listening to the music his family enjoyed while he was growing up. He encouraged his children to take piano lessons, and was thrilled that Stephanie majored in music in college. He inspired Chris with a love for searching out the best recording of any song. He passed that love of music on to his grandkids as well, playing guitar along with them. He enjoyed attending their piano recitals, band concerts, orchestra concerts, school musicals, or just listening to his kids and grandkids play the guitar, piano or drums and sing.
Mike learned to ski when he was growing up in Idaho and was determined that Kathi and the kids would learn also. His family loved their ski days and have fond memories of him beating them down the hill, trying to ski circles around them, or encouraging them to try a challenging run. Of course the grandkids HAD to learn to ski also and loved to ski with grandpa. So many fun memories on the slopes!
Mike had a passion for motorcycles and owned a variety of dirt and road bikes over the years. He rode with the motto ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) and felt that riding helped him be a more conscientious driver. He was so looking forward to teaching the grandkids how to ride.
Throughout his lifetime, Mike was always health conscious and did all he could to stay fit. Besides skiing, he ran several races including half and full marathons and 2 biathlons. He weight-lifted (even while going through chemo), hiked mountain trails, and enjoyed walking up in the hills by his home. He appreciated the natural beauty around him, and took many photographs of sunsets and nature. Photography became another hobby, and he became the official family photographer for family events, portraits, and the grandkids’ sports games, music recitals and school events.
Traveling to Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala, gave Mike the travel bug. He had so many travel plans for his retirement but still tried to travel as much as he and Kathi could. When there were breaks during dental school, they explored the northeast and Midwest area of the US. They also traveled to scenic areas of Canada. Family vacations continued throughout his kids’ childhood to places like Las Vegas, California, and Florida. Mike would travel with his dental staff (including Kathi) all over for continuing education and made time during these trips to see as many sites as possible. He and the family were able to visit his parents in Bolivia while they were serving at the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple; and also traveled to Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, including visiting Machu Picchu and Iguazu Falls.
Mike learned and loved to read at a very early age which started his thirst for learning and knowledge. He enjoyed researching and practicing new skills and improved techniques for his dental practice. New technology was fascinating to him and his son. They were both very tech savvy and would have great conversations about recent advancements. He was always researching ways to help with any situation. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he would bring medical journal articles and peer reviewed research studies to his oncologist that could possibly help with the treatments and its side effects. Kathi would tell him his mind was crammed full of mostly useless stuff because he knew so much about what seemed like everything! He was a master at Trivial Pursuit and would always win! He used his expansive mental database to help bond with his patients on a more personal level.
Mike put others in the spotlight and avoided calling attention to himself. He chose to keep his cancer battle very private. He was convinced he could beat it so he kept working at his practice as much as possible to keep him busy and focused. Mike and Kathi worked together at the office (and at home) to keep the balance between needing to have some recovery time and being able to work. He did all he could to have his story be a success story. He went through a 15 month battle with chemo, radiation, and an intensive surgery. He changed his diet, exercised as much as he could, and looked into research therapies and clinical trials to slow or stop the progression. When he and Kathi found out the cancer had spread, Mike refused to believe the power of his strong mind couldn’t somehow fix his body that he had worked so hard to take care of for so many years and was now failing him. He fought right up until the end.
Mike will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. He is survived by his wife and partner of 44 years, Kathi; his 2 children, Chris Bingham and Stephanie Bradshaw (Kelly Bingham); his 2 grandchildren, Samuel and Cassie Bradshaw; and his 3 sisters, Diana (Jim) Miller Walker, Debra Sabey (Sue), and Sheri (Scott) Beeson. He also is survived by many nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ron and Lee Bingham, his parent-in-laws, Douglas Nielson and Ed and Louise Cooper, his brother-in-law, Donald Miller, and son-in-law, Jacob Bradshaw.
The family would like to thank Dr. Mark Lewis and Dr. Mark Ott and their staff for the expert care, compassion, and support they gave Mike throughout his cancer battle.
Because of his love of education, devotion to study and research, and his selflessness, he donated his body to the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah.
A celebration of Mike's life will be on Friday, October 27, 2023 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Lakeview Memorial Mortuary and Park, 1640 East Lakeview Drive, Bountiful.
Please add your memories and any pictures you might have below to join us in honoring his memory. We, as his family, will continue to add stories and more pictures as well.
Life is eternal; and love is immortal;
And death is only a horizon;
And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
-Rossiter Worthington Raymond