Art Mikelsen, the first Little League® volunteer to serve more than 50 years as a District Administrator, passed away on August 30. He was 90.
Known as “Mr. Little League Baseball” in his hometown of Kitsap, Wash., Mr. Mikelsen retired as Washington District 2 Administrator in September 2008 after 58 years in the organization; 52 years as D.A.
“Our program has lost one of its’ real pioneers,” said Stephen D. Keener, President and CEO of Little League Baseball and Softball. “Art and I had many good conversations over the years and I considered him as much a friend as a colleague in Little League. He will be greatly missed.”
Mr. Mikelsen, a veteran of World War II, was with the U.S. 10th Mountain Division. He was wounded three times and was awarded three purple hearts and three Bronze Stars, one for valor.
Following his discharge from military service, Mr. Mikelsen returned to his work at a local shipyard in Port Orchard, Wash. He retired after 38 years in August of 1980 as a nuclear planning supervisor.
In 1950, Mr. Mikelsen was part of a group in Port Orchard that founded the South Kitsap Little League. At the time, there were only two other Little League programs in the entire state of Washington.
At first, just four teams were in the South Kitsap Little League program. Four years later, Mr. Mikelsen expanded the league to include to South Kitsap Eastern and South Kitsap Southern Little Leagues.
During his time as a Little League volunteer, Mr. Mikelsen was the administrator for the entire western part of the state. Several years later, Little League International divided Washington into eight districts, and eventually to the current 13 districts.
Mr. Mikelsen’s wife of 70 years, Alice, patched uniforms and washed them in the early days. She also fielded the numerous phone calls, collected the mail and acted as the district’s executive secretary. Mr. Mikelsen’s legacy is secure as the baseball diamond at South Kitsap Western Little League is named after him and South Kitsap Southern Little League honored him and Alice by naming its field “The Art and Alice Mikelsen Field.”
In 2007, at the 24th Little League International Congress in Houston, Mr. Mikelsen received the Little League Distinguished Service Award.
Mr. Mikelsen is survived by Alice, two sons and a daughter, seven grandkids and 12 great grandkids.