Noel J. Mickelson: A Life of Art, Love, and Resilience

Noel J. Mickelson, an American artist and equestrian, is often recognized for her marriage to the celebrated actor John Amos. While their union brought her into the limelight, Noel’s story is one of passion, talent, and resilience that extends far beyond her role as a spouse.

Early Life and Background

Noel J. Mickelson originated from Estherville, a quaint city in Emmet County, Iowa. Growing up in this serene Midwestern setting, she cherished the simple pleasures of life. Though details of her upbringing, including her birth date and family background, remain veiled in mystery, it is known that she pursued higher education at Colorado State University. It was here that her life would take a significant turn, leading her to meet John Amos.

Love Amidst Adversity

Noel and John Amos’s paths first crossed during their college years at Colorado State University. While Amos was an active member of the Colorado State Rams football team, Mickelson’s field of study remains undisclosed. Despite the societal disapproval due to racial disparities—Amos being a Black American man and Mickelson a White woman—their bond blossomed into a relationship. They faced significant challenges during an era marked by racial tensions in America, yet their love endured.

In early 1965, defying societal norms and legal obstacles, Noel and John got married. At that time, interracial marriages were prohibited in about 16 states across the United States. It is likely they sought out a state where their union would be legally recognized. Their wedding, though not widely publicized, was a symbol of love conquering all, and their story became a beacon of hope for many.

A Family Legacy

Noel and John Amos had two children: Shannon Amos and Kelly Christopher Amos, fondly called K.C. Amos. Shannon, born on August 5, 1966, speaks fondly of her upbringing filled with love and care from her parents. She has made a name for herself in the fields of healing arts, wellness, and travel, organizing global wellness retreats. K.C. Amos, inspired by his father’s career, ventured into acting, writing, producing, and editing, with notable works such as “Tamales and Gumbo” (2015) and “Huntsville” (2016).

Challenges and Triumphs

The couple’s marriage faced significant societal and legal challenges due to the racial prejudices of the time. One particularly traumatic event occurred while traveling cross-country. Stopping for gas in Arizona, they were confronted by a white man with a loaded shotgun who hurled racist remarks at Amos and their daughter. This incident underscored the pervasive racism they faced and was a pivotal moment for the family, highlighting the harsh realities of American society.

Despite these challenges, John Amos’s career began to take off in the mid-1970s. He gained widespread fame for his role as James Evans, Sr. in the popular sitcom “Good Times.” Throughout his journey in the spotlight, Noel remained a steadfast support, embodying strength and resilience.

Divorce and Life Beyond

After nearly a decade of marriage, Noel and John Amos divorced in 1975. The reasons behind their separation remain private, but it was evident that their relationship had reached an impasse. Despite their divorce, they continued to co-parent their children with dedication and care.

Following their separation, Noel chose to maintain a low profile, leading a life focused on her passions. She was an accomplished artist and a skilled equestrian. According to her son, K.C. Amos, she was hailed as the ‘best endurance rider this side of the Mississippi,’ with her horse, Ondelay, becoming a symbol of her unwavering determination. Noel’s daughter, Shannon, also highlighted her mother’s achievements, noting that she was a world-ranked equestrian, an architect, and an environmentalist. Mickelson’s dedication to her craft and her feminist ideals left a lasting impact on her children and those around her.

Legacy and Passing

Noel J. Mickelson’s life extended far beyond her marriage to John Amos. She was a fiercely independent woman who excelled in her pursuits, leaving behind a legacy of artistry and resilience. Her estimated net worth of $8 million in 2024 is a testament to her success in various fields, including her career as an artist, craftswoman, and equestrian.

Tragically, Noel passed away in December 2016. In her final moments, she expressed regret over not being able to explore the world during her lifetime. Honoring her last wish, her daughter Shannon pledged to take her mother’s ashes on a global journey, commencing this poignant endeavor in January 2017.

A Life Remembered

Noel J. Mickelson’s story is one of enduring love, artistic achievement, and steadfast resilience in the face of societal challenges. From her early years in Iowa to her marriage with John Amos and beyond, she navigated life’s complexities with grace and determination. Her legacy lives on through her children and the countless lives she touched through her art and passion for equestrianism. Noel J. Mickelson remains a symbol of strength, embodying the belief that love and talent can transcend all boundaries.

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