A Very Sad Farewell To A True Woody Boater


Paul Mikkelson – 1937 ~ 2019

It is with a true heavy heart that we announce the passing of one of the great contributors to our community and culture. Paul Mikkelson. Paul’s collection, Museum and passion for classic boats made a huge impact on our collective passion. He helped preserve the legacy and history of the Falls Flyer brand and history.

Fellow Woody Boaters Paul Mikkelson Left and Steve Stevenson Right

When you think of that in perspective. He was like a national archive on the subject, and spent his money and time for the good of us all. As Texx said “Paul was a true gentleman and a proud Minnesotan”. So today in tribute to Paul, we are gonna re-run the big story on his Auction years ago, which captures the impact Paul had on us all. Paul will be missed, but never forgotten.

Here is the original story from 2012 by Texx
Paul Mikkelson from Willmar, Minnesota is truly one of the most dedicated, knowledgeable Woody Boaters in the country. He is also one of the nicest guys I have ever met in the hobby. To visit the Mikkelson Collection Museum in Willmar, MN is like taking a step back in time, when the lakes throughout the midwestern United States were busy with recreational boaters and sportsman in their small utility boats and runabouts with their vintage outboard motors – a way of life in the midwest. Over the years Paul also had a wonderful relationship with legends like Paul Larson and Bob Speltz, to name a few.

Paul has decided that it is now time sell his remarkable collection of Larson Falls Flyer boats, outboard motors and timeless collectibles for future generations to enjoy and appreciate – passing them on to the next caretakers. This story is actually difficult to write, because I know how Paul Mikkelson feels about his life-long collection, but he also must feel the time is right.

Rich Penn Auctions is in charge of the Mikkelson Collection Auction which is now scheduled for May 18-20, 2012 and Woody Boater is planning to be on hand for the entire event.

Here’s an early update that we received from Jim Volgarino at Rich Penn Auctions on Tuesday…

“Texx – We are planning to have all new details and information on the Rich Penn website in the next 10 days (we hope) with the goal to have the complete catalog of lots available online and we will be printing a full color catalog as well. There’s lots of work yet that has to happen with the images, but it appears to be going well. The Mikkelson Collection Auction will include live streaming video from beginning to end so viewers can see each and every item and sale and we are going to have both phone and online bidding.”

“We will also be posting auction updates, information on the location of the auction and individaul item details on the Mikkelson Museum Facebook page, so please stay tuned.” – Jim Volgarino, Rich Penn Auctions

Featuring over 60 vintage wood boats, this auction will have one of the most unusual displays of rare small craft, over 200 classic outboard motors, well over 700 toy and small scale boats, advertising, display and dealer signage, and over 150 lots of vintage craft literature and original photos. The auction is handled by Rich Penn Auctions (www.richpennauctions.com) with further information available at the website, by calling 319-291-6888 or emailing jim.volgarino@auctioneer.net.

Synchronize your timex with your buddies for May 18-20, 2012 because there may never be another auction quite like this one… The time is right to pick up some great vintage boating stuff at in Minnesota in May.

So get your ducks in a row, (or decoys) and start dropping hints to the wife that you are busy in late May and are planning to make a quick weekend trip with the boys to Minnesota to visit a museum… That should work.

Something for everyone, from original models of Chris-Craft family cabin cruisers…

To rare and unusual toys…

To a mint original outboard motor, or two…

To rare original and perfectly restored outboard motors of all sizes, ages and manufacturers… Vintage water skis and life kackets from many different periods…

Or maybe your are looking for a rare Bendix Eclipse outboard – there’s one there…

I have to confess that a few weeks ago I was watching an old re-run of American Pickers and they came across some old original paper match books and commented how rare they were, but only if the match books were in original condition with all the matches still inside. I immediately thought about Paul’s huge collection of vintage boating match books that the outboard dealers handed out to their customers back in the day… (Everbody smoked then). All perfect, and individually wrapped in plastic. Paul even had them displayed in dedicated sections like Mercury, Johnson, Evinrude, etc which was the same with all his vintage collectibles when I was there. Paul even had cigarette lighters in the shape of outboard motors… and ash trays, and…

Looking for some vintage oil containers that you could display on the coffee table in your Man Cave or at the boat show? Or some White Rose Outboard oil? Paul’s got some of those too…

“Boondoggle” a 1939 16ft Falls Flyer Speedster is the rarest of the rare, one of only two single-cockpit inboards ever built.

We had the pleasure of spending the day with Paul Mikkelson in September 2010 for a personal tour of the museum which was fantsatic. In case you missed it, can see the four part series from that fun day at the Mikkelson Museum in the Woody Boater archive by clicking on the links below. And stay tuned for more news and updates as it comes in from Rich Penn Auctions. You can also go directly to their website by clicking here.

Here are the links to the series of stories on Woody Boater from the Mikkelson Collection in 2010.






20 replies
  1. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Wonderful guy…Was kind enough to give me a museum tour when I was at a convention nearby. It was an amazing collection.

  2. Mark in da U P
    Mark in da U P says:

    Thoughts and Prayers to the Mikkelson family. It is always hard to loose someone who has done so much for our hobby.

  3. Royce Humphreys
    Royce Humphreys says:

    My condolences to the Mikkelson family. Paul was a true gentleman and loved sharing his collection. I was lucky enough to attend his auction and I do have a Starflite 75 toy outboard that I was lucky enough to get bought! It is displayed prominently in my collection!

  4. Texx
    Texx says:

    Paul Mikkelson loved his family, his home state of Minnesota, and his classic boat collection.

    Many years ago Paul introduced me to classic boating in Minnesota (Land of 10,000 lakes) and it’s rich history through his vast collection. It was an experience I will never forget.

    My condolences to the Mikkelson family. RIP Paul.

  5. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Paul and toured through the collection (and nearby warehouse) one afternoon many years ago. A true gentleman, passionate about the boats and hobby. He left the world a better place. Rest in Peace.

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Deepest regrets and prayers for family and friends of the Mikkelson’s of which there are many. We had the pleasure of hosting Paul on a couple of St John’s River Cruises and it was non stop laughter. He was proud of his Norwegian heritage (probably why he picked Larson/Falls Flyer, Larson being of Scandinavian heritage. We would refer to him as “Sven” as he kept us in stitches with his self deprecating “Sven and Ole” jokes throughout the cruise that was better than Garrison Keillor ever did. He will be missed.

    • Dane
      Dane says:

      Floyd, Those river cruises must have been a lot of fun. Paul was a funny guy, and together with Bob Johnson it was non stop laughter.

      I will miss Paul.

  7. Bob Larson
    Bob Larson says:

    Paul was very helpful ans supportive to me years ago when I restored a ’57 Falls Flyer, decals, dash plaque, wings, could not have completed the project with out him. Big loss.

  8. Lee Wangstad
    Lee Wangstad says:

    There are a lot of us here in Minnesota who go a long way back with Paul. He was one of the kindest people that I’ve known. His passion for his hobbies was unequaled, his drive to achieve his goals was without limit, and his legacy will continue beyond many lifetimes. We will miss him and his spirited enthusiasm. Condolences to his family.

  9. Stan Petersen
    Stan Petersen says:

    Paul was a REAL Minnesota Scandahoovian. He could speak Scandahoovian like the best. Yes, he and Dr. Bob could keep you in stitches. We had the pleasure of his being our house guest during one of the Sunnylnd boat shows. A wonderful friend He will be missed by many.

  10. Floyd r turbo
    Floyd r turbo says:

    Dane, With Bob Johnson, the Tipster, on board it was like our own personal comedy channel with the Sven and Ole characters trying to outdo each other. “Yah, Sven, the yokes on you.”

  11. Roger Moberg
    Roger Moberg says:

    Paul Mikkelson was one of those guys that excelled in every endeavor and those of us who met him were always richer for the experience of knowing him. His name was respected by all as a man of integrity, interested in others, and always a joy to be around. As one of the twelve Larson cousins (Larson Boat Works) I speak for all of us saying we will miss him and look back with the fondest of memories when he hosted us on tours through his Willmar facilities sharing Larson lore, Scandinavian humor, and his deep love of classic boats.

  12. Laura Mikkelson
    Laura Mikkelson says:

    I AM SPEECHLESS! These words are so touching for my family. My father was truly an amazing man and we laid him to rest in his home town of Willmar, Mn yesterday. This is such a loving tribute to a loving man. Thank you all for this-it means so much to us! Xoxoxox Laura Mikkelson, Elsa, Gunnar & Hunter.

  13. Bob McDonald
    Bob McDonald says:

    Paul was a very kind man who was always willing to share information about some of the rarest outboards and toys. I will always be thankful for the phone calls we shared.

  14. Ed Sheldon
    Ed Sheldon says:

    This is sad news, the years of going to many boat shows I would always look forward to chatting with Paul. He will be missed by all especially the antique and classic boat family.
    Happy boating Paul

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