Dad was born on November 23, 1922 in the same little white house, in Wilbur, WA where his older brother and four younger sisters were born.
His parents, Chris and Katherine (nÄ‚Ĺ e Hansen) Mikkelsen were both born in Denmark and immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1900s.
The Monday after high school graduation Dad enlisted in the Navy, never having a clue that two weeks after his 19th birthday, he would be aboard the U.S.S.
West Virginia while it was docked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
As the battleship sank in to the mud of the harbor, Dad’s job was to keep a fire hose spraying the ammunition stores so the West Virginia wouldn’t suffer the same fate as the U.S.S.
Arizona which was docked right behind it.
No medal was awarded to that skinny, 19 year old kid from Wilbur doing his duty amid the chaos, but he was a true hero in every sense of the word.
His luck would hold throughout the war as he narrowly escaped fate once again when his cruiser was hit, and the bomb that sliced through the decks didn’t explode.
In 1946 Dad was witness to history yet again as he watched a mushroom cloud rise above the Bikini Atoll during early U.S. Nuclear testing.
With so many world changing events an early age, it is no wonder to anyone who knew him that he was a very calm man.
In 1950, Dad’s continuing naval career took him to Billings, MT (who knew there was anything naval in Billings!)
where he met and married Vina Mary Meidling.
After a two week courtship, Mom had a wedding ring on her hand and the young couple headed to Seattle on their honeymoon.
Mom was a great Navy wife, following Dad around the world with their young family in tow.
In 1964 Chief Mikkelsen retired from the Navy and the family moved to Spokane.
Dad followed his successful military career with a 23 year civilian career at Becherini Scale Center.
It was during that time Mom and Dad square danced with the Valley Cross-Trailers.
Square dancing followed them when they moved from the Valley out to their 20 acres near Fairchild Air Force Base and began dancing with the High Flyers.
During this time the girls had horses and Dad became a gentleman farmer.
He raised Beefalo and even put up his own hay.
When summer came around Dad would halter break the calves that he and Mom would later take to the Spokane Interstate Fair to show.
When the Beefalo weren’t occupying his time, Dad loved to spend his evenings fishing the local lakes with his sons.
In the early 90s Dad learned of the local chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors and quickly became an active participant in their meetings and events.
Dad is survived by his wife of 62 years, Vina, sons Chris (Kris) Mikkelsen, Roxy (Jan) Mikkelsen, daughters Paula (Greg) Bulkley and Lisa Sisler; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Mass for Dad will be held April 24 at 10:00 am at the Fairchild Air Force Base Chapel, officiated by Monsignor Ribble.
A gathering to celebrate Dad’s 90 years of life will be held at 2:00 pm on June 2nd, at the home Mom and Dad shared for over 40 years.
Please join us to honor this great man.
In lieu of flowers the family would be honored if you would make a donation in Dad’s memory to one of the following charities.
Honor Flight, or Shriners Hospital for Children - Spokane.