Beloved Little Rock dentist Michael Bradford “Brad” Cruse, DMD, age 45, died peacefully at home on Sunday, November 21, 2021 after a courageous eight-month battle with chondrosarcoma.
Brad was born on March 13, 1976 in Little Rock, Arkansas to parents Mike and Susan Cruse of Fayetteville, AR. He graduated from Arkansas Baptist High School in 1994, then attended the University of Arkansas where he was a member of Sigma Chi and was involved in Campus Crusade for Christ. During his college years, he also served in the Air National Guard as a fireman. Brad graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1998. He pursued his DMD at the University of Louisville, graduating in 2003.
While in Louisville, Kentucky, Brad was an active member of Highview Baptist Church, where he served in multiple ways including playing guitar for the worship band. This was where he met a sassy redhead who later became his wife. Brad and Laura (Hanna) Cruse married in 2003, and their firstborn, Hanna, arrived in June of 2005. In 2006, Brad and family moved to New York city for the adventure of their lives. They served with a church plant while Brad provided dental care at a comprehensive care HIV clinic in NYC. Brad served there with great joy, riding his bike or walking down busy streets to work most mornings. Daughters Caroline and Lily were born during the family’s time in New York.
Brad was a true adventurer and he loved to travel. He used his dental expertise to serve those in need; he served at the Center for Comprehensive Care in New York for five years, and provided medical care on mission trips to Morocco and Honduras. He served the city of Little Rock through Immerse Arkansas and his church, St. Andrews.
In 2011, Brad and his family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he purchased a dental practice from a family friend. Here, Dr. Cruse strived to treat employees and patients the way he would want to be treated. Dr. Cruse was known for providing exceptional care to his patients. He was an artist in his field; his attention to detail was unparalleled, and he was a perfectionist who sought to achieve the best possible dental outcome for every patient. He loved learning new techniques, incorporating the newest dental technologies, and striving to maintain excellence in his field. Dentistry was both his occupation and his hobby. He truly loved it and took every opportunity to do continuing education, completing Level 4 in Cerec Doctors, a program designed to educate to the highest level of cutting-edge digital dentistry. He was also a member of the prestigious Pierre Fauchard Academy, and international honor dental organization. Dr. Brad Cruse was also a member of the Central District Dental Society and served as president of CDDS in 2017.
Patients and staff enjoyed Dr. Cruse’s dry sense of humor, eye roll-provoking dad jokes, and gentle, compassionate manner. He was respected by his employees, who described him as an honest and caring employer. Brad created a culture of excellence, honesty and care at his practice. He will be deeply missed by his patients, many of whom are friends, and by his trusted employees at Little Rock Dentistry.
Brad held an unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. In recent years Brad often prayed The Lord’s Prayer, and as a couple continued to pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done,” even in the midst of Brad’s devastating cancer diagnosis. Soon after his diagnosis, Brad wrote, “We are trying to trust and pray ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ because that is the very best outcome for each of us.” As cancer weakened Brad’s body, his focus on Christ and determination to glorify Him here on earth only strengthened. He fought cancer with great courage and faith. Brad loved God and loved people; he was an exceptional dentist, and he used his giftedness to bless those around him and to further God’s kingdom.
Through his commitment to honor Christ, to love his family, and to excel in dentistry, Brad lived life as a testament to his abiding faith in Jesus Christ, who he served and loved.
Brad is survived by his wife of 18 years, Laura (Hanna) Cruse; daughters Hanna, Caroline, and Lily; parents Mike and Susan Cruse of Fayetteville, AR; and sister Beth Saferite, Cave City, AR.
Visitation will be held on Sunday, November 28 from 4-6 p.m. at Smith Family Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct.
A memorial service celebrating Brad’s life and God’s faithfulness will be held on Monday, November 29, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, 8300 Kanis Rd.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Immerse Arkansas at immersearkansas.org
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