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George S. Mickelson
Mickelson in 1989
28th Governor of South Dakota

In office
January 6, 1987 – April 19, 1993
Lieutenant Walter Dale Miller
Preceded by Bill Janklow
Succeeded by Walter Dale Miller
Personal details
Born George Speaker Mickelson
January 31, 1941
Mobridge, South Dakota
Died April 19, 1993(1993-04-19) (aged 52)
Dubuque, Iowa
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Linda McCahren Mickelson
Relations George Theodore Mickelson (father)
Mark Mickelson (son)
Alma mater University of South Dakota(BA)
University of South Dakota School of Law
Profession Attorney
Religion Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Vietnam War

George Speaker Mickelson (January 31, 1941 – April 19, 1993) was an American politician, Vietnam War veteran, and 28th Governor of South Dakota until his death in a plane crash near Dubuque, Iowa on April 19, 1993. His father, George T. Mickelson, was also a governor of South Dakota, serving from 1947 to 1951. To date, the Mickelsons are the only father-son duo to have ever held that office.[1]

Early life and education[]

Mickelson was born in Mobridge, South Dakota. His grandfather was a Norwegian immigrant.[2] His parents, George Theodore Mickelson and Madge Mickelson, served as the Governor and First Lady of South Dakota from 1947 to 1951.

He graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelors in business administration in 1963 and then from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1965. He was a brother in Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at South Dakota. He was a veteran of the United States Army, and his service included a tour of duty in Vietnam.[1] He married Linda McCahren and they had a daughter, Amy, as well as two sons, David and Mark.[3]

Public service and plane crash[]

Mickelson served as South Dakota State Assistant Attorney General (1967–68) and South Dakota State Attorney, Brookings County (1971–74). First elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in 1974, he held office there for six years, serving as Speaker for the final two years. Mickelson successfully ran for governor in 1986 and was re-elected four years later. [1]

On April 19, 1993 Mickelson was one of eight people aboard a state-owned airplane returning to South Dakota from a lobbying effort in Ohio. The plane, a Mitsubishi MU-2 turboprop, reported engine trouble while flying near Dubuque, Iowa, and crashed into a farm silo about nine miles south of that city. All aboard the aircraft were killed. After the crash, Mickelson was succeeded as Governor by then-Lieutenant Governor Walter Dale Miller. The crash took place on the same day as the end of the Branch Davidian siege near Waco, Texas, which overshadowed the crash in national news coverage.[4][5]


George S. Mickelson Middle School in Brookings is named after him, as is the George S. Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills and the George S. Mickelson Center for the Neurosciences in Yankton, South Dakota. The George S. Mickelson Education Center at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was built in 1990. The George S. Mickelson Great Service Award is extended annually by the South Dakota Office of Tourism. His alma mater, the University of South Dakota, provides academically talented South Dakota students with high ACTs/SATs with a full tuition scholarship. Known as the George S. Mickelson Scholarship, this award is the university's most prestigious scholarship.[6]

See also[]

  • George S. Mickelson Trail


External links[]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lowell C. Hansen II
Speaker of the South Dakota House of Representatives
1979 – 1980
Succeeded by
Walter D. Miller
Preceded by
Bill Janklow
Governor of South Dakota
January 6, 1987 – April 19, 1993

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