Noel J. Mickelson: An Artist, Equestrian, and Trailblazer

Early Life in Iowa

Noel J. Mickelson originated from Estherville, a quaint city nestled in the heart of Emmet County, Iowa. Growing up in this serene Midwestern setting, she cherished the simple pleasures of life that surrounded her during her early years. Details of her upbringing remain veiled in mystery, including her birth date and family background, casting a cloak of uncertainty over her true age. However, her roots in Iowa played a significant role in shaping her character and passions.

Meeting John Amos at Colorado State University

Noel J. Mickelson pursued higher education at Colorado State University, where she crossed paths with John Amos. Both were students at the university, and their connection blossomed into a romance that would withstand societal disapproval due to the racial disparity between them. Despite the heightened racial tensions in America at the time, their bond persevered, leading to their marriage in early 1965.

Overcoming Racial Barriers

Mickelson and Amos’s marriage faced significant challenges due to the racial tensions prevalent during the 1960s. At the time, racial segregation laws in about 16 states across the United States prohibited marriages between black and white individuals. Their wedding, therefore, was only deemed lawful in certain regions, placing additional burdens on the couple and subjecting them to discrimination and persecution. Despite these societal barriers, they remained committed to each other and sought regions where their union would be legally recognized.

The Harsh Realities of Racism

Their marriage faced not only legal obstacles but also the brutal reality of racism in America. One especially upsetting event occurred while Mickelson and Amos were traveling cross-country. They were stopped for gas in Arizona by a white man with a loaded shotgun who insulted Amos and their daughter with racist remarks. This horrific experience devastated and humiliated them, highlighting the pervasive nature of racism within American society.

Life as a Supportive Spouse

Throughout John Amos’s journey in the spotlight, Noel stood by him every step of the way. John transitioned from a promising football career to acting, gaining widespread fame with his role as James Evans, Sr. in the popular sitcom “Good Times.” Despite his rising fame, Noel remained his steadfast support, even as John earned nominations and accolades such as the TV Land Awards and induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

Motherhood and Family Life

Noel J. Mickelson and John Amos were proud parents to two children: Shannon Amos and Kelly Christopher Amos, fondly called K.C. Amos. With John’s increasing success after their marriage, the couple devoted themselves to offering their children the finest upbringing imaginable. Shannon, born on August 5, 1996, has found her calling in the realms of healing arts, wellness, and travel, organizing wellness retreats globally. K.C., inspired by his father’s career, has explored various facets of the entertainment industry, including acting, writing, producing, and editing.

Passion for Art and Equestrianism

Noel J. Mickelson’s life extended far beyond her marriage to John Amos. She was an accomplished artist and a skilled equestrian. Her son, K.C. Amos, once hailed her as the ‘best endurance rider this side of the Mississippi,’ highlighting her exceptional talent in the sport. Her daughter, Shannon, has shed light on her mother’s remarkable achievements, noting that Mickelson was not only a world-ranked equestrian but also an architect and environmentalist. She was a staunch feminist who refused to be confined by traditional gender roles, instilling in her daughter the belief that women are capable of anything they set their minds to.

Divorce and Life Post-Divorce

After the birth of their children, Noel J. Mickelson and John Amos remained married for nearly a decade before divorcing in 1975. The precise reasons behind their decision to dissolve their marriage remain shrouded in mystery, as neither party publicly discussed the matter. Despite weathering the storm of racial discrimination together, the couple ultimately chose to part ways. Following her separation from John Amos, Mickelson chose to maintain a low profile, leading to limited information about her personal life post-divorce.

Legacy and Final Years

Noel J. Mickelson’s substantial net worth of around $8 million in 2024 underscores her achievements and expertise across various fields, affirming her financial prosperity resulting from her diverse talents and endeavors. Despite her success, she remained a private individual, with specifics about her body measurements and other personal details remaining undisclosed.

Sadly, Noel J. Mickelson passed away in December 2016, surrounded by her loved ones. In her final moments, Mickelson reportedly expressed a heartfelt lament over not being able to explore the world during her lifetime. Her daughter Shannon pledged to honor her mother’s last wish by taking her ashes on a global journey, a poignant endeavor that commenced in January 2017.


Noel J. Mickelson was more than just the former spouse of John Amos. She was a remarkable individual with passions in artistry and equestrianism, a loving mother, and a trailblazer who faced societal challenges head-on. Her legacy continues through her children and the countless lives she touched with her unwavering determination and exceptional talents.

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