Charles Christian Mortensen, son of Otto and Alma (Paxson) Mortensen was born December 8, 1925, at home near Wichita, Iowa, in Guthrie County and died July 7, 2021, at Cass County Health in Atlantic, Iowa, at age 95 years, 6 months and 29 days. He attended Viola Consolidated School until the family moved to a farm by Anita, Iowa. He graduated from Anita Community High School in 1944.
His dad, Otto, immigrated from Denmark. Although things were difficult growing up, Charles worked hard alongside his parents and found joy even in hard circumstances; his joy was always evident. Charles was the fourth of eight children and the only boy. A favorite childhood memory was going to Coon Rapids on Saturday nights with cream and eggs and spending the nickel he got.
Charles had a military physical after high school graduation but didn’t pass because of asthma. Instead, from 1944-1948 he worked for the railroad, helped his parents farm, owned a truck and hauled for area farmers. December 28, 1948, he enlisted in the Army. He said if you were breathing, you were approved. Charles did basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, and was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He got $75 a month and sent $50 home. His generosity was lifelong: generous with time, patience, money, and love. In the Army, he often enjoyed banana splits and had a perpetual sweet tooth. May 2, 1949, he took leave to help his dad plant corn. His dad died from a heart attack, June 1, 1949. Neighbors contacted the military and said Charles needed to come back home to take care of the farm and family. He was honorably discharged and transferred to Army Reserve.
Charles said the luckiest day of his life was when he met Evelyn Mabel Heiken. Charles was visiting his sister Norma in the hospital, and Evelyn was there visiting her friend Harriett’s brother, Bob, after Norma and Bob were in an accident. Charles and Evelyn married September 16, 1951, and moved from the Anita farm to the Heiken homestead north of Atlantic on February 29, 1952. Charles farmed this land until retiring in 2000 at age 75. He enjoyed raising livestock, was a faithful steward of the land, and a pioneer in no-till farming. He loved Buck Creek United Methodist Church and was a faithful member. He was thrilled to attend in person again after things improved with the pandemic. Charles had a deep faith. He knew God was in control and faithful to provide. He prayed with a heart of trust to Jesus for his family, for the crops, and for God to take care of him.
Four children were born to Charles and Evelyn: Linda, David, Patrick, and Michael. Patrick enjoyed learning from his dad when they farmed closely together. Charles and Evelyn enjoyed a cruise with David and Pam in 2006. They loved traveling. They visited Michael and Karen in Texas and David and Pam in Arizona and visited their boys when they were in the military. Linda loved going with them on rides in the country as they reminisced.
Charles was blessed with an amazing memory. He loved to share stories, and his family loved to hear him laugh. He was a wise peacemaker with a kind, caring, gentle spirit. The grandkids loved spending time on the farm with Grandpa and Grandma, and Charles and Evelyn were there for all their big life moments. In recent years, Charles played bingo and trivia at the Heritage House. He loved visiting with friends and was a social butterfly. He played dominoes, and he completed word search puzzles daily. He believed movement was good medicine. He enjoyed good food. He appreciated Evelyn’s delicious meals and later daughter Linda’s cooking as she prepared extra food for him to reheat. Charles loved eating lunch at Westside Diner. He was so thankful he could live at home and drive until his death.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn; his parents, Otto and Alma Mortensen; sisters and brothers-in-law: Beatrice and Lester Suplee; June and George Haley, Agnes and Harry Kaufmann, Helen and Andy Moore, Orville Gard, and Robert Burnham.
Charles is survived by his children: Linda (Steven) Havens of Wiota, David (Pam) Mortensen of Marana, AZ, and twins, Patrick (Wendy) Mortensen of Des Moines, and Michael (Karen) Mortensen of San Marcos, TX; grandchildren: Nicole (Tony) Weers, Stefanie Welch, Mark (Lyndsey) Havens, Brant Mounger, Casey Law, Brian (Chelsie) Law, Kristopher (Liz) Mortensen, and Michael (Ang) Mortensen; 22 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild; sisters: Grace Gard, Norma Burnham, and Karen (Bob) Kaiser; other relatives and friends.
Visitation with family will be from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. with a Masonic Service at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, July 11, 2021, at Hockenberry Funeral Home in Atlantic, Iowa.
A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 12, 2021, at Hockenberry Funeral Home in Atlantic, Iowa.
Burial will be in the Atlantic Cemetery, Atlantic, IA.
Services are entrusted to Hockenberry Family Care Funeral Home in Atlantic, IA.
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