John Harold Michaelson: Korean War veteran, retired banker

J.H. Michaelson

John was born in Ketchikan, AK on April 26, 1928 and passed away on Nov. 30. His family moved to Juneau when John Harold was young. He and his extended family were deeply involved in the salmon industry and young Harold had to work the “fish traps” outside of town for several days at a time.

His family moved to Seattle during his high school years and met a new neighbor from Idaho, Patty Hays. They eventually announced their engagement and his future mother-in-law Rose said: “That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard!” But it worked out for over 60 years!

Harold volunteered for St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Pius X Parish, Little League Baseball (Santa Rosa, CA), Knights of Columbus and for St. Philips Church, San Francisco.

During his career, Harold worked for the National Bank of Commerce (later Rainier Bank), as a National Bank Examiner, for Seattle First National Bank and Peoples/US Bank; also as a business consultant and for the U.S. Census Bureau.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946 to 1948, stationed in the Philippines, and in the Korean War (called up from the reserves in 1950). An interesting story from Korea:

While getting transported around Korea, the Marines shared the ship with an Army group; no one fraternized while on board. When the soldiers disembarked, they started giving crap to the Marines from the dock, who of course gave it right back. Then, orders changed, the soldiers had to get right back on the ship! (Two-part video interview of John Harold’s Korean War experience at and Part 2.)

Harold had a great sense of humor, was a skeptic about conventional thinking and rooted for the underdog in sports and in other parts of life. Harold and Pat encouraged all of their seven offspring to attend college and were life-long readers of history (expert on 20th century U.S.), biographies and novels. Whenever Harold heard about a place he wasn’t familiar with he would look it up in his atlas, always close at hand.

Harold was a faithful 49er fan. He was an early adapter of the NFL and followed the 49ers during the lean years of the 1960s and into the playoff years (near misses) of the early ’70s. He secured jobs for all four sons selling programs in Kezar stadium. He also helped his sons and a daughter get summer jobs in Alaska in family salmon canneries.

He was one of the fans who submitted the name “Seahawks” circa 1976 when the team was being formed. See also  or

John Harold is survived by three daughters — Nancy (Peter) Celms of Bothell, Barbara Barclay of Everett, and Susan (Richard) Rincon of Granite Falls — and three sons — Thomas Michaelson of Placerville, Calif.; James (MariFe) Michaelson of Sacramento and Robert (Chia) Michaelson of Lahaina, Hawaii, as well as 10 grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Patricia and son John A. Michaelson.

A rosary will be held at St Pius X, Mountlake Terrace at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 11 with a funeral mass following at 11:00.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to St Vincent de Paul Society.

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