Prominent business and civic leader Vern James "V.J." Mortensen died Monday, April 22, at his home at age 92.

Instrumental in developing the coal-mining industry in Sevier County, Mr. Mortensen was one of the founders of Southern Utah Fuel Co. - a coal mine near Salina that later was sold to Coastal States Energy and is currently one of the state's highest-producing mines.Helping create other area businesses, he was co-owner and manager of Western Creamery in Monroe and founder and owner of Mortensens Finance Co. in Richfield. While the creamery was later sold to Pet Milk Co., he had been involved in his financial business until earlier this month.

He also helped found Motor Sales, a Richfield automobile and mobile-home dealership; and Utelite Corp., a Coalville company producing light-weight aggregates. He was also involved in farming and ranching operations.

Mr. Mortensen had served as mayor of Monroe and president and member of the Sevier School District board of education. Other civic service included involvement in the Monroe Lions Club and Richfield Rotary Club.

Mr. Mortensen was born July 17, 1898, in Ephraim to Niels F. and Elsena Matilda Nielsen Mortensen. He married Norma Swindle on Dec. 5, 1922 in the Manti LDS Temple; she died Dec. 30, 1942. He married Melba Erickson, Aug. 18, 1946, in Elko, Nev.

Survivors include his wife; sons Neal, Vernal J., and Fred D.; daughters Mrs. John (Barbara) Morrey and Mrs. Chad (Dorothy) Peterson; 23 grandchildren and 49 great-grandchildren.

Services will be noon Friday in the Richfield 7th Ward chapel, 159 N. 400 West. Friends may call at Neal S. Magleby and Sons Mortuary from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Interment will be in the Monroe City Cemetery.

The family suggests contributions in Mr. Mortensen's name to the missionary fund of the Richfield 7th Ward, in care of Bishop Duane P. Memmott.