April 19, 1921-Nov. 15, 2012
ANSON, Maine | On Nov. 15, 2012, after a valiant battle against unknown adversaries Bernice "Mickey" Aldrich Heilsberg admitted defeat with the dignity and grace that marked her life. She passed from this world to a better place where she will once again glow with health and meet those loved ones that have passed before her, leaving behind many that will remember with love and fondness the spirit of "little Mickey."
Mickey was born Bernice Mikkelson April 19, 1921, on Staten Island, NY. She was the first of two children born to Christine and Thomas "Captain Tom" Mikkelson. She attended Wagner College in New York where she double majored in Biology and Chemistry. She graduated in 1941 and then went to work as a chemist at Tide Water Oil in Bayonne, NJ. She met Eugene Delmar "Del" Aldrich, a navy electrician who was ending his six year tour of duty, at a USO in Staten Island and married him on May 19, 1945. They moved to Rapid City in 1946 where she worked as a lab tech first at St. Johns McNamara Hospital and then Rapid City Regional Hospital until her retirement in 1986. She had two children, Richard Lee Aldrich and Janet Christine Kifolo.
Mickey was one of the founding members of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and a longtime member of the alter guild contributing many hand-stitched altar linens. She was a very active member of Eastern Star where she was a Past Worthy Matron and Daughters of the Nile where she was a Past Queen. She was also active in Canyon Lake Senior Center (where she line danced until she was 87), the Elks Club (where she golfed until she was 88), and Sons of Norway Lodge (where she crafted elaborate hand embroidered runners and doilies called Hardungers). She was an avid bridge player until she left Rapid City.
Mickey loved to travel as was evident by her world map which had pins in almost every country of the world and her numerous photo albums documenting her travels and the people she knew. She lost her long time travel companion and husband, Del Aldrich on Nov. 20, 1997, but her travels continued independently and with her daughter, Janet. The two of them traveled many distant roads together gathering memories and friends throughout the world. One of Mickey's favorite trips was to Uruguay to visit Beatriz Carriquiry de Sabbia who had come to live with the family as a foreign exchange student during Janet's senior year in 1970-71. A close bond held them as friends even after Bea returned to her home in Florida, Uruguay, after which letters, the occasional phone call and several visits kept them in contact through the years.
In January 2010, she received a letter from her college sweetheart Carl Heilsberg. After a brief, courtship which swept her off her feet and back to their college romance of 60+ years past, they were married on April 25, 2010, and moved to Carl's home in Marshfield, Maine. In September 2010, Mickey suffered a stroke from which she never completely recovered. After the stroke, Mickey and Carl moved to Carl's daughter's home in Anson, Maine, where she could be better cared for. Mickey passed from this life with Carl holding her hand.
She is survived by her husband, Carl Heilsberg; her brother, Herland Mikkelson; her son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Mary Aldrich; her daughter and son-in-law, Janet and Joe Kifolo; Carl's daughters, Carol Heilsberg, Janette Lynds and Lyneta Lewia; her grandchildren, Terry Aldrich, Stacy Giglio, Katy Aldrich, Connie Tesch, Joseph Lindgren, Mike Lindgren, Julie Avila Martinez, Jennifer Jackson, and Elicia Lesperence; and numerous great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church with a luncheon to follow. Mickey will be interred next to Delmar Aldrich at 2 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.