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Leslie "Les" Mortenson


1937 - 2019
Leslie "Les" Mortenson Obituary
Sept. 5, 1937 - Oct. 22, 2019
With deep sadness we announce the loss of Les Mortenson. Les was born in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, to Andrew and Ruth (Day) Mortenson. He grew up with nine siblings on their farm and had many stories. He graduated from high school and joined the Navy. He was discharged from the Navy on Oct. 2, 1959.
He returned to the Minnesota farm, but not for long. His aunt Margaret and uncle Gordon Brewies decided he should accompany them back to Alaska. Arriving in Fairbanks, Les worked for Interior Airways. He got a job at Clear Air Force Station and began working there on Aug. 26, 1960, and stayed until his retirement on May 1, 1993.
That was how Les made his living, but his passion was hunting, fishing, snow machining, trap shooting and guiding hunts. Les was an assistant guide to Wally Rochester which took him all over Alaska for polar bear, grizzle bear, brown bear, Dall sheep, mountain goats and always moose camp for their freezers. He was a life time member of the National Rifle Association and the Fraternal Order of the Elk. He was a charter member of the Clear Sky Sportsmen's Club and was treasurer for many years.
After Les retired he would leave Alaska in the fall and drive to Minnesota and as far east as Gloucester, Massachusetts, then down the eastern seaboard to Florida visiting family and friends along the way. From Florida he headed west, ending in Las Vegas, Nevada, and spending the winter there.
Les enjoyed playing video poker. He always said it was skill not luck as he was a winner. When spring arrived, he headed north to Alaska. He did this for many years. In 2016, Les moved to Sequim, Washington. He hated leaving Alaska, but realized he needed to be closer to his doctors.
Les was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Ruth (Day); brothers, Ronald, Floyd and Allan (Buck); and sisters Merle, Audrey, Vida and Helen. Les is survived by Roy and Bruce Mortenson. Please join us for Les's memorial at the Clear Alaska Reunion in Laughlin, Nevada, on March 5, 2020, (reunion runs March 2-5, 2020). There will be services next spring in Minnesota and Alaska also.
To my dear friend: "You were one to ride the river with."
Published in Daily News-Miner on Nov. 7, 2019
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