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Martin "Don" Mortensen, 91, of Rising City, died Friday, October 8, 2010 at Columbus Community Hospital.

The funeral service will be at 11:00 am Wednesday, October 13 at First Lutheran Church in Rising City. Visitation will be from 5 - 7 pm Tuesday at the church and one hour before services on Wednesday, also at the church. Burial will be in Circle Mound Cemetery in Rising City.

Martin D. Mortensen was born on March 7, 1919 in Omaha to Martin and Carrie (Olsen) Mortensen. His father had come from Denmark and was serving in the US Army in France and upon his return and discharge, he settled with his family in the Howard County area, farming around Cushing, NE. Following the untimely death of his father, at age 40, his mother moved the family to St. Paul, NE; but Don decided to leave and travel the country, covering many miles and states.

In 1939 he answered Uncle Sam's call of "I Want You" and entered at Ft. Crook. His three years enlistment was extended to over six years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was on that day that he met his future wife as he went to visit his sister at the nurses quarters and was introduced to her roommate, Estella Nordmeyer. He served in England, France and Germany in the 82nd Airborne Paratroopers and after war's end, he returned to St. Paul, NE and traveled to Denver  where he married Estella

 on January 5, 1946 at the Camp Fitzsimmons Hospital Lutheran Chapel.

Don farmed for 15 years in Butler County and worked 20 years at Behlen Mfg in Columbus, retiring in 1982. Following a heart attack in early 1983 and quadruple bypass, he continued to lead an active life. He enjoyed telling of his travels and military experiences, being especially proud of being the first class of paratroopers at Ft. Benning, GA in 1940. He was active in his church, the Masonic Lodge, Sesostris Shrine Clowns and the Cornhusker Chapter of the 82nd airborne, with headquarters in Lincoln.

Don enjoyed working outdoors, playing cards, painting and parading. Recent months he has been slowed by heart and physical ailments.

Surviving is his wife: Estella, Sons: Larry (Mary) of Beaumont, CA; Ted of Arlington, VA: Steve (Janice) of Wake Forest, NC; Six grandchildren: Leslie (Jeremy) Hinkle of St. George, KS; Aaron of Chester, CT, Teri of Raleigh, NC; Gary and Laura of Arlington, VA; Tyler (Yolanda) of Garden Grove, CA, and two great-grandchildren: Cameron and Erica. Two sisters: Ellen Paulson of Grand Island, NE; and Florence (Eugene) Cline of Omaha; sister-in-law: Virginia Hunt of Beaver City, NE; nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death were his parents, an infant daughter; one sister Dorothy and one brother Howard.

(courtesy of Wendy Redman Hudson)

Martin entered the service on 12 May 1939 at Fort Crook, NE. According to his obituary, at left, he was a member of the first paratrooper class in 1940.

T5 Mortensen was transferred to the 508th PIR  on 16 Oct 1942 as a member of the Cadre team supplied by the 507th.  He was a member of the Service Company and remained with the 508th until at least April 1945 when he was awarded a Good Conduct Medal.