Elsa Rigby Michelsen was born March 28, 1947 to Noel Price Rigby and Mary Charlotte Fitzgerald in Billings, Montana. She died on April 16, 2019 from a stroke. As a little girl, Elsa wanted to be a cowboy when she grew up. One of her prized possessions was her cap guns. She once used them to tell her “grumpy old neighbor” to “stick em’ up.”
Elsa graduated from Billings High School in 1966 and attended Brigham Young University where she met her husband Frederick Lynn Michelsen, Jr. (Mick). They were sealed on August 19, 1967 in the Idaho Falls Temple and spent almost 52 years on earth together. They have three children – Michael, Noelle, and Katy. Elsa was the proud grandmother to nine beloved grandchildren. Throughout their life together, Elsa and Mick lived in La Crescenta, California; Lagos, Nigeria; and finally settled in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served in many different callings. Elsa and her husband served in the Salt Lake City South Mission and the Family History Center at Church Headquarters. She loved serving in the Jordan River Temple as an ordinance worker and in the baptistry. During their short time in Nigeria, Elsa and Mick felt the tender mercies of their Heavenly Father when they were prompted to purchase and contribute lesson manuals, hymn books, and many other Church materials to the fledgling branches in Lagos. The family was thrilled when the temple in Nigeria was announced.
Elsa and Mick loved to travel. After their time in Nigeria, they took the family to Europe and spent six weeks camping their way through many countries in a Volkswagen camper. As their children studied European history in high school, they appreciated having seen many of the sights discussed in their history classes. Elsa loved cruising, especially to the Caribbean and Alaska. Her trip through the Panama Canal was also a highlight.
Elsa was an amazing seamstress and was known for the beautiful clothes she created; including blessing clothes, baptismal dresses, Christmas pajamas, Halloween costumes and both of her daughters’ wedding dresses. She was always happy to help with the sewing questions of her daughters and daughter-in-law. She loved to play games, especially Cribbage and Tripoly. Elsa was an avid reader, a trait she passed to her children and grandchildren, who attribute much of their success to reading.
She accomplished her goal of graduating from college by earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Tourism Studies from Brigham Young University as part of the Class of 1994. Elsa and her family enjoyed attending BYU football games for nearly two decades during the 1980’s and 1990’s. She learned to love baseball while attending games for the Billings Mustangs with her father. Later while living in California, she had the batting order for the Los Angeles Dodgers memorized during their World Series runs in 1977 and 1978. She passed her love baseball on to her son.
Elsa’s joy in life was her family. She spent countless hours driving her children to violin and piano lessons, and getting up every morning at 4:30 am to get them to swim practices. For many years she was a fixture atop the timing stand running the timing computer for home swim meets of the Brighton High Paddlin’ Bengals. She was always in attendance at any event involving her children.
Elsa had a wonderful sense of humor and a quick wit. She loved to be surrounded by the family she and Mick created. Over countless delicious and home cooked family meals laughter rang through her home. The legacy of her humor and wit now rings in the homes of her children and grandchildren. It was also in the hospital room where we her family said their final farewell in mortality and kissed her goodbye.
Elsa is survived by her husband Mick and her children Michael (Nancy) Michelsen, Noelle (Richard) Van Orden, and Katy (Thomas) Musser. She will be fondly remembered by her nine grandchildren Diana, Scott, Sean and Maggie Michelsen; Kylee, Braydee, and Tanner Van Orden; and Jared and Joshua Musser. She was preceded in death by her parents Noel and Mary Rigby, and by her sister Mary Margaret Rigby.
A viewing will be held on April 19, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The funeral will be held on April 20, 2019 at 11:00 am with a viewing from 9:45 to 10:45 am. All services and viewings will be held at the Butler Hill Chapel located at 2695 East Fort Union Blvd (7000 South). Internment will be at the Sandy City Cemetery. Elsa always said she wanted people to wear their favorite dresses to her funeral, so the family asks you to wear your favorite outfit to her service.