Eduard Alden ("Mike," "Snoop") Mikkelsen died peacefully at home in Bellingham, Wash., Feb. 14, 2013, Valentine's Day, surrounded by his family.
Mike was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1933, in Chicago, Ill., to parents, Ebba Berg Mikkelsen and Asger Mikkelsen. In the 40s, his parents bought the Circle Bar Lazy T Ranch in Lewistown, Mont., where Mike began to shape his destiny. He owned his first car, a 1927 Model-T, when he was 9 years old. From then on cars with a "personality" were his passion. He restored "rolling sculptures" for most of his life. Last year he and his wife, Anne, published their book on his auto experiences and her gourmet recipes: "The Dodge: Guts, Glory and Living at Full Throttle."
Mike attended Fergus County High School in Lewistown, Mont., class of 1951. After receiving a bachelor's degree from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., and an M.A. from Montana State University, with Frances Senska, he completed his M.F.A. in ceramics at the University of Minnesota
with Warren McKenzie. Mike created his art and taught in California, Montana, Minnesota, Kino Bay, Mexico, and Bellingham, Wash.
Mike hosted Alden's Party Line, a 50s radio talk show, at KXLO in Lewistown. In the 60s he owned Grain Bin Pottery in Maple Grove, Minn., and Checkered Flag, a European car dealership in Osseo, Minn. In 1982 he started Prairie Auto and Manifold Restoration in Northfield, Minn., developing and adapting to autos a ceramic glazing technique first learned from Senska.
An extraordinary artist of clay, metal, paint, life and love, Mike taught the glory of aesthetics and how to live courageously as fully-human beings. Perseverance and tender compassion for his fellow People with Parkinson's were evident in his tireless efforts to raise awareness and money for Parkinson's research and quality of life with his garden sculptures, Yellow Birds for Parkinson's.
Mike's exuberance and creative spirit will continue to inspire his wife, Anne Cutter Mikkelsen; his children, Randall (Tatiana), Greta, Jon (Valerie) and step-children, Sean Larson (Janine), Geoffrey Larson (Tanya), Andrew Larson (Juliana), and Sarah Larson Lendt (Keith); his grandchildren, Jeremy (Bonni), Vibeka, Annika, Maija, Amanda, Sarah Elizabeth, Skye, Chelsea, Cutter, Charla Anne, Teddy, Aidan, Carmen, Isaac, Rohan and Xerenya; great-grandson, Adrian; and Mike's sister, Karin Utzinger (Bob), of Bozeman; countless friends, extended family and his beloved Bellingham yoga companions.
In 2010 Mike said: "I've had a rich and grand life. I have no regrets. Although I sometimes felt like a windup toy without a key, I'm thankful for the generosity of people and the years that gave me time to continue my art and educate others about Parkinson's."
A memorial service and celebration honoring the life of Mike Mikkelsen is planned for early summer. Donations can be made to Whatcom Hospice, Bellingham, Wash. (or your local Hospice), or Northwest Parkinson's Foundation www.nwpf.org.