Noel J. Mickelson: The Artistry and Equine Passion Beyond John Amos

Noel J. Mickelson, an American artisan and equestrian enthusiast, represents a compelling figure whose multifaceted talents extend beyond her association with the renowned actor John Amos. While her connection with Amos, particularly as his former spouse, adds a dimension to her public persona, Mickelson stands out in her own right as an artist, craftsperson, and horse enthusiast. Delving deeper into Mickelson’s life reveals a rich tapestry woven with artistic expression, equine passion, and an enduring legacy.

Early Life and Background

Noel J. Mickelson hails from Estherville, a tranquil town nestled in Emmet County, Iowa. Despite the serene backdrop of her upbringing, much about Mickelson’s early life remains shrouded in mystery. Details about her birthdate, age, and the identities of her parents are largely undisclosed, adding an air of enigma to her persona. However, it is known that her path eventually led her to Colorado State University, where she would meet John Amos, setting the stage for a significant chapter in her life.

Academic and Personal Journey

Mickelson’s time at Colorado State University marked the beginning of her relationship with John Amos. Their meeting during their college years was a pivotal moment, intertwining their lives amidst a backdrop of academic pursuits and personal growth. While specific details about Mickelson’s academic focus remain unclear, her connection with Amos flourished during this period. Amos, deeply involved in football as part of the Colorado State Rams team, found a supportive partner in Mickelson as they navigated their early adult lives together.

Marriage and Family

In 1965, Noel J. Mickelson and John Amos defied societal norms by marrying during a time when interracial marriages were illegal in many states. Their union was not just a personal commitment but also a courageous stance against the prevailing racial prejudices of the era. This courageous act was validated in 1967 when the United States Supreme Court overturned laws prohibiting interracial marriage, affirming the legality of their union nationwide.

The couple welcomed their first child, Shannon, a year before their official marriage. Shannon went on to become a successful writer and producer, contributing to major media entities such as BET and MTV. Their second child, Kelly Christopher (K.C.), born in 1970, pursued a career in direction, production, and video editing, working on projects like “The Watermelon Heist” and “Hauntsville.” Despite their efforts to shield their children from racism, societal prejudices inevitably encroached upon their family life, shaping the experiences of Shannon and K.C.

Professional Pursuits

Noel J. Mickelson distinguished herself in various fields, notably as an artist, craftsperson, and equestrian. Her artistic talents and craftsmanship earned her recognition, independent of her association with Amos. Her passion for horses also played a significant role in her life, reflecting a deep connection with nature and the equestrian world. Mickelson’s dedication to her pursuits exemplified her multifaceted personality, showcasing her ability to excel in diverse domains.

John Amos’ Career and Their Relationship

John Amos, best known for his role as James Evans, Sr. in the CBS hit series “Good Times,” did not enter the entertainment industry until after his marriage to Mickelson. Prior to acting, Amos pursued a career in football, playing for various teams including the Denver Broncos, the Canton Bulldogs, and the Kansas City Chiefs. His transition to acting began in the early 1970s, with roles in television series such as “The Tim Conway Comedy Hour” and “The Funny Side,” eventually leading to his iconic role in “Good Times” in 1974.

Despite their initial bond and shared experiences, Mickelson and Amos’s marriage faced challenges, leading to their divorce in 1975. Amos continued his career in television and film, gaining further acclaim for roles in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The West Wing,” and movies like “Coming to America” and “Die Hard 2.” His illustrious career, marked by nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and an NAACP Image Award, showcased his versatility and enduring presence in the entertainment industry.

Legacy and Later Years

Noel J. Mickelson’s legacy extends beyond her marriage to Amos. She is remembered as a nurturing mother, a talented artist, and an environmental advocate. Her daughter Shannon attributes her creative expression to Mickelson’s influence, highlighting the nurturing environment she provided. Mickelson’s commitment to early family dinners and her deep connection to nature are fondly remembered by her children.

In December 2016, Mickelson passed away surrounded by loved ones. Her final moments were marked by reflections on unfulfilled wanderlust, inspiring Shannon to embark on a global journey to honor her mother’s memory. Shannon’s travels, during which she spread Mickelson’s ashes around the world, served as a poignant tribute to Mickelson’s enduring spirit and love for exploration.


Noel J. Mickelson’s life story is one of resilience, creativity, and passion. Her journey, intertwined with significant cultural and societal shifts, reflects the complexities of navigating personal and professional realms during transformative times. While her marriage to John Amos adds a notable chapter to her narrative, Mickelson’s legacy as an artist, craftsperson, and equestrian enthusiast stands on its own, celebrating a life rich in expression and dedication. Her story, marked by courage and creativity, continues to inspire those who appreciate the depth and breadth of her contributions.

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