20th Anniversary of Governor Mickelson's death - KOTA Territory News

20th Anniversary of Governor Mickelson's death; multiple other tragedies


Friday is the anniversary of several tragedies.

It's the day of the bombing of Oklahoma City federal building by Tim McVeigh in 1995.

It's the day of the Waco fire at the Branch Davidian Compound in Texas in 1993.

And for those of us in KOTA Territory, it is perhaps most memorable as the day a sitting Governor perished in a plane crash.

20 years ago Friday, the state plane carrying Governor George S. Mickelson and a team of economic leaders, crashed into a silo at an Iowa farm. All 8 aboard died.

The weather was bad, but it was actually a propeller shearing off the plane that caused this crash.

Lieutenant Governor Walter Dale Miller was sworn in as Governor the next day.

Looking back, this man of large stature, had a big impact on this state. In 1985 George Mickelson started campaigning West River.
Mickelson was elected 40 years to the day his father had been sworn in as Governor of South Dakota.

Mickelson was near the end of his 2nd term when he died on an economic mission to save the John Morrell Meat Packing Plant.

He was leaving Cincinnati, returning to the state capitol in Pierre.

Economic development was the centerpiece of the Mickelson Administration. He became known for his tireless efforts to bring jobs to the state with the Redi-fund, a revolving economic development fund to give loans to expanding businesses.

In 1989 he helped South Dakota celebrate a centennial. And in 1990 Mickelson declared a year of reconciliation with the tribes. And spearheaded the change of the Columbus Day state holiday, to Native American Day.

Mickelson died at the age of 52, leaving behind his wife Linda & 3 children, Mark, Amy & David.

Also killed in the crash -
Angus Anson, 38, Sioux Falls
Ron Becker, 52, Pierre
David Birkeland, 54, Sioux Falls
Roland Dolly, 37, Pierre
Roger Hainje, 43, Sioux Falls
David Hanson, 45, Pierre
Ron Reed, 52, Pierre

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