Vernal James "V. J." Mortensen, 92, prominent Richfield business and civic leader, died Monday, April 22, 1991, at his home.

Mr. Mortensen was instrumental in the developing of coal mining in Sevier County and was one of the founders of Southern Utah Fuel Company, a coal mine near Salina. The mine was later sold to Coastal States Energy and presently is one of the highest producing coal mines in Utah.Mr. Mortensen was also instrumental in the founding of many other businesses in the area. He was co-owner and manager of Western Creamery in Monroe, later sold to Pet Milk Co.; founder and owner of Mortensens Finance Co., in Richfield, and continued active in that business until the last two weeks.

He was also one of the founders of Motor Sales, a Richfield automobile and mobile home dealership; one of the founders of Utelite Corp., Coalville, a producer of light weight aggregates, and was involved in farming and ranching operations.

Active in civic affairs, Mr. Mortensen had served as president and member of the Sevier School District board of education; mayor of Monroe; active in the Monroe Lions Club and Richfield Rotary Club.

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

Survivors: wife, Richfield; sons, Neal, Central; Vernal J., Sandy; Fred D., Salina; daughters, Mrs. John (Barbara) Morrey, Richland, Wash.; Mrs. Chad (Dorothy) Peterson, Richfield; 23 grandchildren; 49 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be Friday at 12 noon in the Richfield 7th LDS Ward Chapel, 159 North 400 West. Friends may call at Neal S. Magleby and Sons Mortuary, Thursday from 7-9 p.m. and Friday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Interment, Monroe City Cemetery. The family suggests contributions in Mr. Mortensen's name to the Richfield 7th LDS Ward Missionary fund in care of Bishop Duane P. Memmott.

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