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Obituary: Lloyd Hubert Michalsen

Aug. 4, 1938 – Nov. 1, 2023

Lloyd Hubert Michalsen, 85, of Sister Bay, died Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, at Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, surrounded by his loving family. 

He was born Aug. 4, 1938 in Chicago, the son of the late Holger and Ruth (Ogne) Michalsen. He always felt he was an Ogne through and through: fun, a little loud, happy, and loving life! He attended Salem Norwegian Bible Church as a child. In the summers he would work on his grandparents’ farm in Arpin, Wisconsin. After he graduated from high school, he joined the military for a short time and then worked as a computer consultant and department chair for Wheaton College, ran his own consulting business, and later worked for Peter Orum at Midwest Ground Covers until his retirement in 1998. He was blessed in marriage with Nancy Akerly in 2008.

Lloyd was the unofficial Sister Bay greeter. Often seen on his scooter in his Norwegian sweater and fisherman’s hat, pockets loaded with dog treats, he greeted those vacationing to Northern Door as well as local residents and their pets out for a stroll. His gregarious personality suited his calling as, hand in hand with his wife Nancy, he founded and pastored The Cowboy Church in Ellison Bay, as well as creating the Door Jam Performing Arts Center and numerous song circles and other music groups. Nancy and Lloyd had an amazing partnership, both fully supporting and working together on each other’s endeavors.

Lloyd was a member of the Sons of Norway, Chicago Chapter, and The Fox Valley Music Foundation. While in Downers Grove, Illinois, he worked the Chicagoland Coffee House circuit as a singer/songwriter/storyteller. After several years he moved to North Carolina and was the spokesman for a Gospel Country Band, the beginning of his dream of a Cowboy Church. He was an accomplished musician and music teacher, carrying on the family tradition of his father’s Salem Norwegian String Band. Shortly after moving back to Door County he organized and ran a Bluegrass Camp for several years as well as serving as the caller for local square dances. He was a songwriter, woodworker, weaver, storyteller and teacher in his home studio and at The Clearing in Ellison Bay. He performed and toured with the Door County trio One Voice with David Hatch and Lynn Gudmundsen. One of his greatest joys was The Cowboy Church he began in the barn of Bob Tidball in Ellison Bay, filling Sunday mornings in the summers for 7 years with wonderful music and musicians. Lloyd was the friendliest person you could ever meet; he truly loved his home, his family, and the people of Door County. 

Surviving family includes his loving wife, Nancy Akerly, dear children, Eric (Ann) Michalsen of Louisville, Kentucky, Lisa (Ron) MacDonald of Sister Bay, Maia Michalsen of Sister Bay, and Jenn Gaddes of Sister Bay, six grandchildren, Lena MacDonald, Connor MacDonald, Hanna Michalsen, Grace Michalsen, Cooper Gaddes, Xavier Gaddes; and sister-in-law, Shirley Michalsen of Florida as well as numerous cousins.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Holger and Ruth Michalsen; brother Ronald Michalsen; and son-in-law Don Gaddes.

A man’s true epitaph is not etched in stone but woven into the hearts of those around him. Lloyd lived his faith, and loved his family, and his friends. After a lifetime of good works and helping others, he rests, at peace, in the arms of his Heavenly Father.  He will be greatly missed.

A celebration of Lloyd’s life is planned for Spring of 2024 in Sister Bay, with a date to be announced. Casperson Funeral Home is assisting the Michalsen family. 

Memorials may be directed to Door County Secret Santa, at the Brew Coffee Shop, 12002 Highway 42, Ellison Bay, WI 54210, in care of Jane Lee. Door County Secret Santa anonymously helps Door County families with their heating costs