Olive “Pat” Mickens, artist, teacher and mom, passed from this life on Monday, June 8, 2020 at the age of 93. Born Olive Lorraine Kowalski on April 14, 1927, in Bronx, New York, she was the daughter of Caroline Scown and Stephan Thomas Kowalski. Soon after, the family moved to Portland, Oregon, where her parents operated a travelers’ campground.
In 1932, the family returned to New York, where young “Stretch” (as she was called for her height) attended St. Raymond School and Jane Addams High School. Renamed “Pat” in her teens by her friends, she also attended the pioneering Traphagen School of Fashion and, following her aspirations to be a designer, took a job as a seamstress in the costume department of Radio City Music Hall.
She met the love of her life, Edward F. Michniewicz, in 1943. They married after the war, in 1946, and moved first to Passaic, then Clifton, New Jersey, where they lived the rest of their life together. They streamlined the family name to Mickens in 1955.
Pat Mickens raised five lively children, served as a Girl Scout leader and Cub Scout den mother. She was an active parishioner at St. Brendan Church in Clifton and, after 1970, at St. Philip the Apostle.
She managed to channel her artistic impulses into painting—in oil, watercolor, pastel and pencil—and was a founding member of the Clifton Artists Association in the early 1960s. She served as an officer and exhibition organizer, showing a painting for the last time in 2016. Her work can be found in private collections throughout North America, and from Ireland to Japan. She always signed her paintings “Olive.”
With her children grown, Olive had more time to study art and to teach private classes: her students included clergy, neighborhood children, and nursing home patients. She also took the opportunity to join her husband on frequent business trips, including an assignment in Antwerp, Belgium.
Always a gracious hostess, naturally gregarious and comfortable in any social situation, her husband once observed, “She makes friends at any airport gate. If the flight is delayed long enough, she’ll figure out how you’re related.”
Olive was predeceased by her husband of 68 years, Edward, her parents Caroline and Tom Kowalski, her brother, Thomas, and her son-in-law James Hunt. Olive moved to the Job Haines Home in Bloomfield in 2016, where she spent her last days. The family would like to thank the staff of Job Haines for their caring and attentive support.
She is survived by her children: Patricia Hunt of Montclair; Ed Mickens of Prescott, Arizona; Robert Mickens of Bloomfield; Jan (Edward) Kamper of Caldwell; and Michael (Laura) Mickens of Pasadena, California; seven grandchildren: John, Richard, and Margaret Hunt, Andrew and Daniel Mickens, Caroline Kamper, Myles Mickens, and her great-granddaughter and namesake, Olive Hunt. She is also survived by her niece, Diane Dobkin of Clifton and her nephew, Tom (Nanci) Kowalsky of Wall.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home, 1313 Van Houten Ave, Clifton. A virtual Funeral Mass from St. Philip the Apostle Church may be viewed online at www.stphilip.org/funerals/ or by CLICKING HERE on Friday, June 12 at 1 pm. Private interment at Calvary Cemetery in Paterson. Please visit www.bizubquinlan.com for online condolences to the family.
In lieu of flowers, consider a donation in Olive’s memory to the Clifton Artists Association 900 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07013, Butterfly Wishes at Homeside Hospice, 67 Walnut Avenue, Clark, NJ 07066, or Job Haines Staff Fund, 250 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield, NJ 07003.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Olive T. Mickens, please visit our floral store.
Clifton Artists Association
900 Clifton Avenue, Clifton NJ 07013
Butterfly Wishes at Homeside Hospice
67 Walnut Avenue, Clark NJ 07066
Job Haines Home Employee Fund
250 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield NJ 07003