William James Mortimer, 1932 ~ 2010
William James Mortimer's "lifetime warranty" expired on May 20th, 2010 and he has returned to his Maker. He was born on June 26, 1932 in Provo, Utah, the eldest son of
William E. and Margaret Johnson Mortimer. His early years were spent in Payson where his father was an industrial arts teacher. When his father accepted a professorship at Utah State Agricultural College (now Utah State University), his family moved to Logan.
His first involvement with the Deseret News began at age 12 when he started as a carrier delivering the paper. He continued as a carrier through his high school years. In addition to his paper route, he also worked part-time in the Deseret News' Logan bureau, often filling in for the Bureau Chief. He was Editor of the Logan High School newspaper. These experiences whetted his appetite for a career in print and journalism.
Military service faced him when President Harry Truman declared war in Korea and mandated that all young men 18 and older were subjected to a draft. The war was declared one day before his 18th birthday and on his birthday, he registered for the draft. A provision allowed active duty after college graduation.
During his four years at Utah State University, he was active in campus activities, student government and the student newspaper. He was the first to serve as editor for two years and as managing editor the other two years. He graduated in 1954 with a degree in journalism and a commission as an U.S. Army second lieutenant. He served two years on active duty in Inchon, Korea and was nominated as a Captain if he re-enlisted, but he had other things in mind and returned to Utah for marriage and higher education.
While serving in Korea, he maintained a long distance courtship with Paula Ann Deline, which led to their marriage on September 17, 1956 in the Logan Temple. The day after their wedding, the couple moved to New York City where Jim began his Master's program at
Columbia University. He graduated with his journalism degree in June 1957. He had several job opportunities in New York, but he and his wife decided they wanted to rear their family in Utah and he accepted a position as a reporter for the Deseret News, and then later became Assistant Business Editor.
Jim's career in printing and publishing continued when he became Sales Manager at the Deseret News Press, then moving on to be Senior Account Executive for Wheelwright Lithographing Company. From there, he enjoyed 13 years at Deseret Book Company serving as Vice President and General Manager.
In 1979, Jim was asked to return to the Deseret News Press and change it from a commercial printing firm to a new internal printing organization within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
After the successful conversion, he was given the responsibility to merge Church distribution services into the internal printing organization.
In April 1985, he was appointed as Publisher of the Deseret News, which position he held until his retirement in 2000. His involvement with "Deseret" companies led to his appellation as "Deseret Jim."
He was very active in the community serving in many positions including president of the Printing Industries of Utah, a board member of Printing Industries of America, president of the Downtown Retail Merchants of Salt Lake, president of the Utah Retail Merchants Association, executive vice president of the Great Salt Lake Council Boy Scouts of America, chairman of Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the board at Pioneer Memorial Theatre, chairman of the Utah Partnership for Education and Economic Development, chairman of the board for Prevent Blindness Utah Chapter-now Friends for Sight, executive committee member for Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, board member of the Utah Symphony, president of the Salt Lake Kiwanis Club, lieutenant governor of Utah-Idaho District of Kiwanis International, president of Utah Press Association, board member of the Utah State University Alumni Association, chairman of Utah State University journalism department advisory board, an honorary colonel of Utah National Guard, and a member of the Guard's executive board.
He chaired the first United Way campaign to raise $1,000,000. To kick off the campaign, he rode a circus elephant from west of the old Union Pacific Depot through the streets of downtown Salt Lake to the Salt Palace. The "fragrance" of this experience lingered on for some time.
He was especially happy with the experiences he enjoyed as a board member, vice chairman and then chairman of the board of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. At the banquet marking the end of his chairmanship, he chose to sing his review of the year to the tune "Thanks for the Memories" with his wife, Paula, accompanying him on the piano. They got a standing ovation, but quickly retired from such musical hi-jinks.
He received many awards and recognitions including Distinguished Citizen of the Year 1995 for the Boy Scouts of America and in 1998, he was given an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Utah State University. On April 29, 2010, he was inducted in the Utah Printer's Hall of Fame for his significant contribution to the printing industry.
An active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jim devoted much of his life serving in the Church. Among his many church callings, he served as counselor in two bishoprics, Bishop, counselor in two stake presidencies, Stake President, Executive Secretary of the Youth Correlation Committee, a Regional Representative for eight years and a Stake Patriarch in four stakes. He loved the hymns of the church and had an admonition to always "sing all the verses of the church hymns."
A highlight of his religious experiences was his work with the Scriptures Publications Committee. From 1972 - 1981, he served as Secretary and was responsible for supervising the typesetting, printing and binding of the new Latter-day Saint Edition of the King James version of the Bible and the new triple combination.
He considered his family as his greatest contribution. Married to his sweetheart of 53 years, Paula Deline Mortimer, they are the parents of seven children: Jeffrey Paul Mortimer (Charlotte), David James Mortimer (Shelley), Gregory Scott Mortimer (Melissa), Bradley John Mortimer, Judy Mortimer Hut (John), William James Mortimer II (Libby) and Jennifer Marie Burt (Steve). He is the proud grandfather and great grandfather to his 20 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and younger brother, Dean Johnson Mortimer. He is also survived by his brothers, Robert George Mortimer (Anne) and Gerald Elbert Mortimer (Linda).
The family expresses sincere gratitude to all of Jim's wonderful doctors, medical professionals and especially Caresource, who gave him excellent medical care and assistance during his years of health challenges. We also appreciate his family, friends and loved ones who continuously offered their strength, support and prayers.
Jim will be remembered for his life of work and service, but more importantly for his wonderful example as a husband, a parent and a valiant Child of God.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 12 p.m. at the Wasatch Stake Center, 8170 Short Hills Drive (3425 East), Salt Lake City. A viewing will be held on Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Cannon Mortuary, 2460 Bengal Boulevard, and from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. prior to the funeral services at the Wasatch Stake Center. Interment: Mountain View Memorial Cemetery, Bengal Boulevard.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the LDS Perpetual Education Fund.