On Saturday, April 5, 2014, retired Air Force Col. William F. Mickelson went to be with our Lord. He died from catastrophic rupture of his aorta during emergency surgery at VCU Medical Center in Richmond. He was 81 years old.
He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Nancy C. Mickelson; brother Tom Mickelson of Wisconsin; and daughters Kim Roscoe and her husband, Tom of Stafford County, Karen Iannicelli and her husband, Don, of King George County and Kendra Sheets and her husband Clif, of Spotsylvania County. In addition, he is survived by 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Bill was born on Sept. 17, 1932 in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. He enrolled in St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. While there, he met and married his wife, Nancy, and entered AFROTC training. He lettered in football and graduated in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with minors in chemistry and physics. At the time of his graduation, he received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Air Force. Bill was a highly decorated pilot. He served two tours in Southeast Asia, accumulating 218 combat missions, including 131 over North Vietnam and 131 night missions. His many service awards included 16 Air Medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross, The Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendations Medal and the Outstanding Unit Award with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. Col. Mickelson retired from active duty in 1984 with over 30 years of military service to our country.
In his retirement, Bill found great joy spending time with his family, traveling and enjoying time with his many friends. He was a member of American Legion Post 320 in Spotsylvania. He and his wife Nancy led more than 100 trips around the region, the country and the world with the 55 Club of Lee’s Hill and the Senior Adult Ministry of Spotsylvania Presbyterian. Dubbed the “Mayor” of Turnberry by his Lee’s Hill neighbors, he always enjoyed meeting and speaking with anyone he met on his daily walks in the neighborhood. It can truly be said that Bill never met a stranger.
Bill was very active his church and most recently served as an elder in the Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church. He was on the Committee for Young Life and had a great passion for the youth of our region.
In his personal memoir he wrote “ I have had an amazing life and career thanks to the support and love of God and my family…We never know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future.”
The family will be receiving visitors from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 11, at Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church.
A celebration of life service will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at River of Life Worship Center.
Internment with be at Arlington Memorial Cemetery in the near future.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations may be sent to Young Life, VA-36, PO Box 3545 Fredericksburg Va. 22402.