George S. Mickelson

George Speaker Mickelson (January 31, 1941 – April 19, 1993) was an American politician and Vietnam War veteran who served as the 28th governor of South Dakota from 1987 until his death in 1993 in a plane crash near Zwingle, Iowa.

George S. Mickelson
George S. Mickelson.jpeg
Mickelson in May 1989
28th Governor of South Dakota
In office
January 6, 1987 – April 19, 1993
LieutenantWalter Dale Miller
Preceded byBill Janklow
Succeeded byWalter Dale Miller
Personal details
George Speaker Mickelson

(1941-01-31)January 31, 1941
Mobridge, South Dakota, U.S.
DiedApril 19, 1993(1993-04-19) (aged 52)
Otter Creek Township, Jackson County, Iowa, U.S.
Cause of deathPlane crash
Political partyRepublican
SpouseLinda McCahren
RelativesGeorge Theodore Mickelson (father)
Mark Mickelson (son)
EducationUniversity of South Dakota (BA, JD)
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/service United States Army
Battles/warsVietnam War

His father, George T. Mickelson, was also governor of South Dakota, from 1947 to 1951. To date, the Mickelsons are the only father-son duo to have held that office.[1] He is a member of the prominent Mickelson family of South Dakota.

Early life and educationEdit

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

Mickelson graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's in business administration in 1963 and from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1965. He was a brother in Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at USD. He served in the United States Army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam.[1] He married Linda McCahren and they had three children, Amy, David and Mark.[3]

Public service and plane crashEdit

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 was elected governor in 1986 and reelected 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 four miles south of Zwingle.[4] Everyone on the plane was killed. Mickelson was succeeded as governor by then-Lieutenant Governor Walter Dale Miller. The crash happened on the same day as the end of the Waco siege, which overshadowed it in national news coverage.[5][6][4][better source needed]


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 given out annually by the South Dakota Office of Tourism. His alma mater, the University of South Dakota, awards academically talented South Dakota students with high ACTs/SATs a full-tuition scholarship known as the George S. Mickelson Scholarship. It is the university's most prestigious scholarship.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "George Mickelson, 52, Governor Of South Dakota, Dies in a Crash". The New York Times. April 21, 1993. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  2. ^ 1910 Census, Walworth County, South Dakota
  3. ^ "George S. Mickelson". Soylent Communications. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "25 years ago today: Plane crash south of Dubuque kills S.D. governor, 7 others". Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  5. ^ "Governor George S. Mickelson. Years in Office: 1987-1993". Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  6. ^ "George S. Mickelson". Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  7. ^ "Admissions - USD - The University of South Dakota". Retrieved May 7, 2017.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the South Dakota House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of South Dakota
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of South Dakota
1986, 1990
Succeeded by