George T. Mickelson was born in Selby, South Dakota. He attended public schools in Selby and went on to receive a law degree from the University of South Dakota. He practiced law first with the firm of Smith and Mickelson and later independently. He served as State’s Attorney for Walworth County from 1933 until 1936, when he was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives, where he was a member until 1941. In 1943 he was elected Attorney General of South Dakota, serving until 1947, when he defeated incumbent Governor Merrell Sharpe in the Republican primary and went on to win the general election as governor. During his two gubernatorial terms, Mickelson worked to reduce the bond indebtedness of the state and helped move conservation measures through the state legislature. He also promoted the expansion of highway construction, helped lead development of the Missouri River, and aided in the distribution of bonuses to World War II veterans. He did not seek reelection in 1950, but went on to direct Dwight Eisenhower’s South Dakota presidential campaign in 1952 and was appointed a U.S. District Judge for the District of South Dakota in 1953. He served as a judge until his death in Sioux Falls.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 50. New York: James T. White & Company.