Rev. Jack Maurice Mortenson
Wednesday 22nd of January 1936 - Thursday 1st of April 2021
Rev. Jack Maurice Mortenson was born January 22, 1936 to Edwin Maurice and Marie Ellen Waller Mortenson and died at his home in Lexington, KY on April 1, 2021 at the age of 85.
As the eldest son of traveling evangelists, Jack became intricately involved in his parents’ ministry at an early age by assisting them with musical presentations. After completing high school, he graduated from Kings College in New York and went on to study anthropology under the legendary Margaret Mead at Columbia University. He also attended Talbot Theological Seminary. Jack was a lifelong member of Immanuel Baptist Church.
After completing his education, Jack once again joined his parents as the founders of Faith Memorial Baptist Church in Canton, OH where he was Assistant Pastor, Music Director and eventually head pastor after his father’s death. It was during those years at Faith Memorial that Jack and his father pursued their vision for Christian Radio in founding Mortenson Broadcasting Company. The company was founded with the mission statement of “Helping to make and keep the home sacred”.
The first Mortenson station began in 1960 (WTOF-FM “Tower of Faith”) in Canton, OH with the second being WHKK serving the Greater Cincinnati area. After his father’s death, Jack decided to devote his full time and attention to expanding the Mortenson Christian network. WEMM-FM in Huntington, WV was his third station, with the call letter being in honor of his father. Mortenson Broadcasting became a major player in the national Christian broadcasting field with the company owning and operating over forty stations in eighteen markets in the United States. Through Jack’s vision, MBC started one of the nation’s first networks of Black Gospel radio formats and was a pioneer in broadcast ministry to the Hispanic community as well. Jack also branched into publishing with the founding of the Colorado Christian News and the Kentucky Christian News.
Mortenson Broadcasting Company was the recipient of the 2012 National Religious Broadcasters Milestone award, honoring them for more than fifty years of broadcast service. Sixty-one years later, Jack continued to work up until his hospitalization in mid-March.
Jack’s passion for Christian radio could only be overpowered by his overwhelming passion and love for his children and grandchildren. He often said that his richest blessing was his family. He celebrated each of their accomplishments and achievements with joy. He shared his love for travel with his children, taking them on many special trips including New York for the Christmas holiday, cruises, houseboat trips on Lake Cumberland, his special place in Ft. Lauderdale, and a trip with his daughters to the Holy Land. These trips were special, but what he loved most was simple gatherings at the family home on Pepperhill.
Jack’s hobbies and passions also included running, food, tennis, boating and skiing. He was an avid golfer and organized golf outings for as many as thirty of his friends to various golf courses. He was a lifetime member of Firestone Country Club and enjoyed his memberships at Valhalla and Champions. He loved to travel, taking several trips around the world.
Jack definitely had a zest for life. He described his philosophy in this quote: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments your breath has been taken away”. He described those as the ‘WOW” moments of life and encouraged his family and friends to always look at those WOW moments, appreciate them, and thank God for them.
Jack was well known in Lexington for his elaborate Christmas parties. At those parties, he was generous with his donations to the Salvation Army, Lexington Rescue Mission, Lexington Fire Fighter’s Toy Program, The Hope Center, Make a Wish Foundation, the Heather French Foundation for Veterans, and Hospice of the Bluegrass. He was also a strong supporter of Operation of Hope which provided the gift of life-changing surgery to children with facial deformities in many countries.
Jack is survived by his children Tanya K. Mortenson, Chad Mortenson (Michelle), and Dion Mortenson of Lexington, KY; Trisha K. Mortenson of Alpharetta, GA; and Preslee M. Gooch (Matthew) of Dahlonega, GA; grandchildren Tony, Kaylee and Justin Bradford, and Tori Mortenson Hollins (Nick) and Taylor Mortenson. He was preceded in death by his younger brother, Danny and a granddaughter, Isabel Gooch; and is survived by his sister, Marianne Mortenson of Beverly Hills, CA and brother, Stan Mortenson, of South Carolina.
Pallbearers will be Chad Mortenson, Dion Mortenson, Tony Bradford, Justin Bradford, Matthew Gooch, and Nick Hollins. Honorary pallbearers are Rex Humbard, Jr., and Don Humbard.
The family has entrusted Milward-Man O' War with final arrangements. Visitation will be held at the funeral home, 1509 Trent Blvd., on Monday, April 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The service will follow with Rev. Paul Sisk officiating. Interment will be at the Lexington Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in Jack’s memory to Bluegrass Care Navigators (Hospice of the Bluegrass).
I had the privilege to work for Jack in 1972 at WTOF in Canton, OH. The brief time I was there ended up having a huge impact on my later life and ultimate ministry. I wish I could have had the chance to thank him in this life, but I still have eternity waiting.
Marilyn Mulkey Russellsays
Our family are soooo sorry for your lost. We understand the feeling of losing the center of our family. Jack’s Aunt Edith Waller Mulkey left this earth last Tuesday at 98. The
Nicole Amato (Niki)says
Dearest Tanya and Trish and the rest of the Mortensen family. Please except my deepest condolences at the loss of your father and grandfather. Watching this video was truly moving. It’s evident to see the love that there is between the children of this great man and him. I especially loved seeing the grandchildren. I love you all and my heart is with all of you!!! ♥️🙏🏼
Jack was a very special client. I helped him with some of his famous trips. He loved to travel and learn about the people in different countries. Always knew he loved his family and friends. He will be missed, but I know he is is good hands now.
Dorcas Mortenson Prestonsays
We called each other, "Our favorite cousin" and kept in constant contact. He included me in some of his wonderful trips with friends and relatives, called often and relayed wonderful events that was taking place in his life. I felt that he was more of a brother than a cousin. I'll miss our fun phone calls and my visits to Kentucky and his to California. A big hole is left in my life! I'll miss you "Favorite Cousin"..............
John Szychowskiyour losslesays
Dear family... My condolences to all of you on your loss. As believers we will all be together again...cling to that as you do your mourning. Love you all.