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St. Helens woman celebrates milestone birthday

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Lillian Mickelson celebrated her 100th birthday, Tuesday, May 17. Her friend and neighbor took her out for dinner Tuesday night and brought a celebratory piece of vanilla cake to wish her happy birthday.Longtime St. Helens resident Lillian Mickelson celebrated her 100th birthday, Tuesday, May 17.

Born in North Dakota, Mickelson spent the early years of her life on grain farms in North Dakota and Montana. When she was 7 years old, her family moved to Oregon and started a dairy farm. At the age of 20, Mickelson moved to St. Helens and has lived there ever since.

For many years, Mickelson worked as office assistant for Farrell Lumber, where she helped with a variety of tasks.

Mickelson, who still lives independently, said she has been blessed with great health and friendly neighbors who have helped her over the years. Having never had a driver’s license, Mickelson said she has always been able to rely on neighbors and friends for assistance.

The new centenarian, who is a mother to two children, grandmother and great-grandmother to many more, celebrated with a party Saturday, May 14, at First Lutheran Church, where she was surrounded by loved ones.

Mickelson spent the evening of her birthday Tuesday at Dockside Steak and Pasta with her neighbor, Don Shimer, who takes her out to dinner every year and enjoys celebrating with her. The two have been neighbors for 28 years, when Shimer moved into the home Mickelson had grown up in.

If you ask Mickelson what the secret to a long life is, she’ll tell you this: “I always say to think positive and avoid the negative.”