Della Rae Mickelson: 1949-2013 |

Della Rae Mickelson: 1949-2013

Della Rae Mickelson, 64, Faith, S.D., went to be with the Lord Sept. 6, 2013, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif.

A celebration of her life was held Sept. 14, 2013, at the New Prairie Home Church in Maurine, S.D., with Pastor Roger Monson and Pastor Dave Grotzke officiating. Burial followed at the Monument Hill Cemetery.

Della was born April 29, 1949, in Belle Fourche, S.D., the first of two children to Shirley and Erma (Gamble) Miller. Her parents welcomed her into their little sheep wagon home by pulling out the big storage drawer under the bed for a crib.

She grew up with her sister Reta Fae on the family ranch near Mud Butte, S.D., enjoying the simple country way of life, and eventually married and raised her own family just a few miles from there.

With her family, she attended Prairie Home Church and Sunday School. Very early in life, Della Rae accepted Christ as her personal Savior. She was one of the first campers to be blessed by Cedar Canyon Bible Camp. She later spent many summers as a counselor there, and in the most recent years she still devoted much of her time to the camp as treasurer, registrar and all-around helper.

Della Rae attended grade school at one-room schools, first the Red Top School, just west of Maurine, and then finishing at the Mud Butte School.

For high school, she realized a childhood dream by attending Sunshine Bible Academy, near Miller, S.D. After graduating in 1967, she still held the school very close to her heart and returned again and again.

Della Rae attended her first year of college in Oklahoma City, transferring the next year to SDSU in Brookings, S.D., where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education in 1971.

All throughout her school years, Della Rae would return home to spend her summers haying and helping with Bible Schools and Camp.

After college, she pursued her chosen career at her chosen place, teaching high school mathematics back at Sunshine Bible Academy.

Music was always important to Della Rae. She enjoyed singing with her grandmother as a child. Her mother started teaching her piano very early and she continued blessing people with her musical talents throughout her life. She enjoyed singing with her husband and family and spent time teaching music to her children when they were young. She enjoyed being one of the pianists for the church and also accompanying the local quartet.

Della Rae loved to sew and knit, and made many individualized gifts for family and friends. Bookkeeping was another of her passions. She prepared income tax for many years and most recently kept books for Country Coffees in Union Center.

On Aug. 17, 1974, Della Rae married the love of her life, her longtime friend, Sam Mickelson. Together they first worked and traveled for SBA, later settling at their home along Cedar Canyon. Along with raising sheep, cattle, and most recently buffalo, they raised a family of three boys and three girls, who were their pride and joy. Their blessings increased as each grandchild arrived. From about the early to mid ’80s Della Rae tried to publish a weekly newsletter that was shared with family and friends. This became what we know now as “Mickelson Moments.” Even when her family became scattered she was trying to keep them all connected and informed.

Grateful for having shared her life are: her husband of 39 years Sam, and six children and their families; Travis (Haley) Mickelson and children Natalie, Tarrence, and MaKeltie of Mud Butte, S.D.; Fran Mickelson of Union Center; Tim (Courtney) Mickelson and children Toby, Soleil, Ciera and Ruby of rural Faith (Maurine), S.D.; Tyler (Jennifer) Mickelson and son Will of Mandan, N.D.; Faye Lynn (Levi) Stoddard and children Reece, Sidney, and Paisley of Garrison, N.D.; and Felicia (Chris) Cammack of Union Center. Other survivors include her father Shirley Miller of Mud Butte; her sister Reta Fae and Ken Kelly of Ada, Kan., and many nieces and nephews.

Della Rae lost her fight with cancer and went to be with the Lord she loved, joining her mother Erma Miller, two infant sons and many family, friends and neighbors who have preceded her in death.

Memorials have been established to the New Prairie Home Church and the Cedar Canyon Bible Camp.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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