Lillian Mickelson was born in Towner County, North Dakota, on May 17, 1916. She was the seventh of eight children. She passed away at Thanksgiving House in St. Helens, Oregon on Dec. 15, 2019 at the age of 103.
While still an infant, the family moved to Montana where the eighth child was born. In 1923 the mother of the family died at the age of 35. The father then moved with the eight children to Oregon, settling in the rural community of Clatskanie. They were a farming family and following the remarriage of the father they settled on a dairy farm in the dikeland known as Locoda. Lillian often mentioned hand-milking cows before catching the bus to high school in town. The cows were milked again in the evening.
Following graduation from high school in 1934, as the valedictorian, she attended Northwestern School of Commerce and found her first job in the Columbia County Courthouse in St. Helens, Oregon. St. Helens would become her home for the rest of her life. In 1937 she married Leo Mickelson. The only change she made in her name at marriage was the pronunciation. Her family used the long “i”; his family used the short. She and Leo had two children, a daughter Karen and son Richard. Until the children reached school age she stayed home. After they were both in school, she went back to work. She spent 25 years as a secretary/bookkeeper for building supply businesses, Holbrook Lumber Co. and Ferrell Lumber. She retired in 1977.
She was preceded in death by her parents; seven siblings; her husband Leo in 1988; and son Richard in 2015.
She is survived by daughter Karen (Duane) Shadley; eight grandchildren; numerous great-grandchildren; nieces; and nephews. Lillian was the last remaining member of her family and the only one to reach the age of 100.
A memorial service will be at First Lutheran Church, St. Helens with burial at Bethany Cemetery in Warren beside her husband and son.
Lillian’s family is greatly appreciative of the care and support provided by Comfort Makers, Thanksgiving House, Legacy Hospice, the St. Helens Seniors, her church family and her many friends and neighbors.
If desired, friends may make memorial contributions in Lillian’s honor to First Lutheran Church or a charity of one’s choice.