Howard Gail Mickelson, the son of Carl M. and Mary Ethel (Reynolds) Mickelson, was born on July 10, 1915, in rural Irwin, Iowa. He attended Irwin Consolidated School and graduated in 1932. He then worked as a farmhand until May 8, 1941, when he entered the Army and was a member of the 1759th Combat Engineers. After his discharge in 1946, Howard became a school bus driver and worked at Til McMahon’s Garage. On January 8, 1949, Howard married Dolores Beatrice Wiig at the Lutheran parsonage in Irwin. In October, 1949, the couple moved to his parents’ farm; they lived there 56 years.
Howard joined the Irwin Church of Christ in Irwin, at the age of 21, and had served as a church elder for many years. Each April, he attended the Kiamichi Mountains Christian Men’s Meeting in Oklahoma. In 1976, Howard started the Greenridge Steam and Gas Engine Antique Show at the Mickelson Farm. He had restored a 1915 Case Steam Engine and built a half-scale Rumley Traction Engine.
Howard G. Mickelson died on Friday, September 2, 2005, at the Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan, Iowa, at the age of 90 years, 1 month, and 23 days.
Preceding Howard in death were his parents and two brothers, Normal Mickelson and Ralph Mickelson. Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Dolores Mickelson of Harlan, Iowa; one daughter, Mary (Clark) Ahrenholtz of Harlan, Iowa; one son, Danny Mickelson of Irwin, Iowa; six grandchildren, Tabitha Ahrenholtz, Camilla Ahrenholtz, Casie (Toby) Muller, Kristopher (Amie) Mickelson, Andrea Mickelson, and Dani Dee Mickelson; one great-grandchild, Dawson Muller; and other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held on Monday, September 5, 2005, at the Irwin Church of Christ in Irwin, Iowa, with Pastor Ted Sieck officiating. Peggy Ahrenholtz served as organist, and Allen Birks was the soloist. Casket bearers were Kristopher Mickelson, Ken Nielsen, Toby Muller, Jeff Darling, Jerry Nelson, and Sheldon Kallevig. Military rites were provided by the Helmer Reyelt A.L. Post #150 and the Shelby County VFW Post #941. Burial was in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Irwin, Iowa. The Burmeister-Johannsen Funeral Home in Harlan was in charge of the arrangements.