GILBERT, AZ. — Larry Mortensen passed away June 15, 2019, in Gilbert Arizona at the age of 84.
He was born in Alamosa and raised in a family that farmed and ranched and learned at an early age how to work hard. As a young boy, he would drive a team of horses with a buck rake helping to put up hay. He also was active with several cattle drives helping his Grandfather Crowther move cows to summer pasture in New Mexico.
He attended Nortonville school (a one-room school) until he transferred to Sanford in the 7th grade until high school graduation. After high school, he attended Adams State College and BYU-Provo. Prior to graduating, he served a mission in the Northern States for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He valued education and worked to receive his BA, then was accepted into the Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island. After a time in the military and an honorable discharge, he went on to pursue additional degrees, including MA, Specialist in Education and Ed.D
He experienced a variety of vocations. During high school, he was a school bus driver as soon as he was old enough for a CDL. He worked with youth and teachers for 41 years as a school administrator and educator. While rearing his children, he made pies for Big Apple, a local restaurant and cut meat for Wright’s grocery store. Early mornings he would be found helping his boys load newspapers on bicycles for their routes. After retiring from education, he drove tour buses as well as an 18-wheeler hauling military equipment to various posts. He spent years remodeling apartments and helping tenants. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, traveling and spending a summer in Alaska was a highlight. He and his wife, Shelley, served missions as guides for the Mesa Temple grounds, as well as at the Mesa Cannery and Family History Center.
He is survived by his wife, Shelley, of 58 years, his seven children, Michael (Penny) of Chandler, Ariz., Mark (Sherilyn) of Logan, Utah, Matt (Jonna) of Las Vegas, Nev., Marni (Kendall) Wahlquist of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Marianne (Kelly) Udall of Tucson, Ariz., Merritt, Mesa, Ariz., and Michelle (Cameron) Thomas of Burlington, Kent., as well as 27 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His brothers, Arnold, Dennis (Barbara), Bill (Julie), Carl (Carlene) and Lars (Valorie) also survive him. His parents, Grant and Louise, as well as brothers Ardith and Curtis, preceded him in death.
A graveside service will be held Friday, June 21 at 9 a.m. at the Sanford Cemetery