Mildred Winger Mickey, age 99, passed away Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 in St. Helens, Oregon. Mildred was born in Kearney, Wyoming on Aug. 5, 1921 to John and Mabel Songer. She was the third of the four daughters born to the Songer’s. Around the age of ten years old Mildred moved to Arizona with her mother and three sisters, Katherine, Gertrude and Helene. At the age of 16 she married Robert G. Mickey and the following year had their daughter Florence. Soon after Florence was born, they moved to St. Helens, Oregon.
Mildred and Bob had three more children together, Don, John, Ann Marie, and a son, Phil that Bob had from a previous marriage. Mildred was a very loving mother to all five of the children. She was a stay-at-home mom until the death of her husband. Family and friends have countless memories of her cooking wonderful meals on the wood burning cookstove, anything from the Thanksgiving turkeys that she would steam for hours on top of the cookstove and then later brown in the oven, to the bacon for breakfast, fresh vegetables from her bountiful gardens, and breads and cinnamon rolls. Her grandchildren cherish the memories of sitting on the stool next to the cookstove eating toast while grandma worked her magic on the cookstove. Mildred always had a bountiful garden, it produced enough for her to be able to can enough food for her family to last until the following year, frequently even more. Mildred enjoyed canning, she would often leave her canned goods on the kitchen counter for a few weeks just to admire her hard work, it was also pretty to look at.
For Mildred being a stay-at-home mom also meant taking care of the family farm. Milking her Jersey cow daily, feeding and caring for the chickens (which were another fond memory for many), the goats, rabbits, and Ma cat, as well as many others. Once those morning chores were done, she would then use the milk to make things like butter and cottage cheese that the family would eat at their meals together. While caring for the chickens if there was a broody hen that had abandoned her nest, she would gather the eggs and keep them warm by the cookstove until they hatched. There was always laundry to be done and this was a very time-consuming process because she washed all of the laundry by hand with a wringer washer and then would hang to dry.
After the passing of her husband Bob, Mildred became the cook at the local Yankton School for several years. Many children passed through her lunch line and remembered her kind words and warm smile.
Mildred was an avid seamstress; she would sew and mend for her family. Monthly she would join a local group of ladies for what they called the “Stitch and Chatter Club” where they would gather to do just that. Not only was she an avid seamstress, but she loved to read books, magazines, and her favorite flower catalogs where she would spend many hours choosing and ordering the perfect irises to add to her large iris collection in her front yard. It was not uncommon to find her working and tending to the row upon row of irises that she meticulously planted and cross pollinated to create new types and colors.
Every Sunday you would find Mildred at the First Methodist Church in St. Helens. She was a very involved member there for most of her life. She especially loved to listen to the music and sing with the others while enjoying listening to the sermon. Often you would find Mildred working in the booth that the church had at the Columbia County Fair or helping to serve and cook the BBQ chicken at the Salmon Days parade in St. Helens. She enjoyed attending the monthly potluck after church service as well as meeting fellow members at the Kozy Korner for soup on non-potluck days.
Grandchildren were a very important part of her life, she tried to be as involved as she could. She was the type of grandmother that would give her grandchildren rides on her back as if she was a horse when they were little. She took pride in teaching them how to raise and care for chickens and other animals to show at the Columbia County Fair with the hope of winning ribbons, taught them to garden, and when they were older enjoyed sitting by the fireplace sipping black coffee visiting with them about their lives. One of the things that Mildred enjoyed the most was going to the Sunshine Pizza restaurant in town and treating the kids to lunch. She would heap her plate and tray as high as she could with the fresh fruits and veggies at the salad bar, one of her favorites though was the breadsticks! Other favorite family memories were the delicious homemade ice cream that she would make for the 4th of July picnics and the feel of her silky-smooth floral blouses on your skin when she would give you a big hug. She was the grandmother who never forgot a birthday, she would always send a card with $5.
Mildred was a wealth of information that she enjoyed sharing with those she loved. Her friends and family will always remember her loving ways and her kindness towards others and animals.
Mildred is survived by her son Phil Mickey; daughter M. Florence MacWilliams; grandchildren, Sherroll Yurs, John Mickey, Cindy Lambert, Bobby Usher, Jim Usher, David Usher, Lisa Stanley, Lori Bailey, Sherry Mickey, Catina Mickey, Jessie Carter, Bobbi Mickey, Salina Daughtery, and Colt Davis; many great-grandchildren; great-great-grandchildren; nieces; and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband Robert Mickey; sons, John and Don Mickey; daughter Ann Marie Mickey; and grandsons, Ricky Usher, Kelly Usher, and Jordy MacWilliams.
A celebration of Mildred’s life will be held at a later date.