Malvina Hahn Mikesell, 75, a resident of Northport, passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 15, 2017 after a short illness.
Born in Chicago to Bernard and Dale (Wasserstrom) Hahn, Vina graduated from Carleton College in 1963 and began training for the U.S. Information Agency.
In December 1963 she married Phillip Mikesell. Together they raised two children, Alexandra and Joshua, in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where her husband taught at Wabash College. In 2008 they moved to Northport.
Second only to her devotion to her family, Vina held a lifelong devotion to civic betterment and to the arts. In both Crawfordsville, Indiana, and Northport, she worked tirelessly and very successfully to build chapters of the League of Women Voters.
In Crawfordsville, Indiana, she increased membership threefold and instituted programs that continue still. She also served on the board of the LWV of Indiana. Vina was actively involved in a wide range of community organizations, from leading a Girl Scout troop to leading the board of The Old Jail Museum to service on a citizens' committee to decide the direction for a new local hospital. In 1984 she was elected to the to Crawfordsville School Board and was involved in the planning for a new high school. She was an activist in the best sense. If she saw a problem or need, she didn't complain. She got to work.
Arriving in Northport, she quickly recognized the need for a League of Women Voters chapter. Along with others, she worked for several years to establish the League of Women Voters Leelanau County. That chapter now has more than 170 members and has developed into an important force for civic engagement and voter education. She served on the board of the LWV Lake Michigan Region and was recently elected to the board of the LWV of Michigan.
In addition to her work with the League, she was active in the Northport Women's Club and was president of the board of ShareCare of Leelanau for four years. In her organization and execution of projects, she set the bar very high. She combined a vision of the overall purpose with a great attention to detail. Her many years of work in the community were marked by a passion and resolve in her convictions and respect and honesty in her work with others.
She had a lifelong love of the arts, especially visual arts. She was a graphic designer and an accomplished calligrapher. Twenty-seven classes of graduates of Wabash College received sheepskin diplomas with their names and degrees written by Vina's keen eye and expert hand. She enjoyed visiting Mexico and Central America because of the bright, strong colors of the region and was proud of her significant collection of Latin American folk art collected over a number of trips.
She was an avid gardener and loved having colorful flowers in and around the house. She loved theater and musicals and was thrilled to have seen Hamilton for her 75th birthday.
Vina is survived by her loving husband of 54 years, Phillip; her two children, Alexandra (David Freeman), of Oak Park , Illinois, and Joshua (Deborah Newitter), of Chappaqua, New York; and five grandchildren, Max and Aaron Freeman and Jacob, Sam and Sydney Mikesell. In addition, she leaves a sister, Jessica Hahn, of Ann Arbor; and a brother, Jonathan Hahn, of Seattle, Washington.
She was preceded in death by a sister, Roberta; and a brother, Carl.
A memorial service celebrating Vina's life will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 11 a.m ., at Trinity Church in Northport.
Memorials may be directed to League of Women Voters Leelanau County, PO Box 519, Suttons Bay, MI 49682 and/or ShareCare of Leelanau, 7401 Duck Lake Road, Suite #600, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653.
Condolences and memories may be shared with Vina's family at www.martinson.info.
Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Leelanau.
Published on August 26, 2017