Honoring Tradition.
Celebrating Life.

Sally Mortenson

May 26, 1936 - March 1, 2024
Grand Rapids, MI



Sunday, March 17, 2024
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
(616) 453-8263
Driving Directions


Monday, March 18, 2024
11:00 AM EDT
First Evangelical Covenant Church
1933 Tremont Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Portage Lake Bible Camp
4158 Camp Delight Rd.
Onekama, MI 49675
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


As family and friends can surely attest, Sally Mortenson truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times, and nothing brought her greater joy than surrounding herself with her loved ones. Deeply missed, Sally will be forever held in the hearts of those who knew her best.

The 1930s are remembered as a time of great turmoil and struggle for the United States. The Great Depression was in full swing, and many families across the country pulled together to make ends meet and thrive in their time of need. During these dark years, however, there was a ray of light for Reverend Louis Person and Brita (Ohlson) Person of Denver, Colorado, as they eagerly awaited the birth of their baby. On May 26, 1936, they welcomed their daughter, who they named Sally Lou, into the world.

Growing up, Sally was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. Her father was a pastor at Evangelical Covenant Churches in Denver and in Spokane, Washington, and later on, he served as the Superintendent of the East Coast Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church and then took a position as the Vice President of North Park Academy, which would later become North Park College. Sally’s mother dedicated herself to caring for her home and her family, was active within the church and managed the Sweden shop in Chicago, IL for nearly 20 years. From a young age, Sally loved to play piano, sing, and act. She also stayed active by playing basketball in her free time. Holidays were spent with extended family or their church family. When Sally was 11, she fell and broke her arm, sustaining nerve damage as well. Though doctors feared she would have complete paralysis in that arm due to the damage, surgery and extensive recovery time gave Sally back the use of her arm.

Throughout her childhood, Sally attended local schools, including Jefferson Elementary School in Washington and Thompson HIll School, Woodstock Elementary, and Woodstock Academy High School in Connecticut. She went on to graduate from North Park Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois, in 1954. Sally then pursued further education at North Park Junior College in Chicago and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Sally also earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Arizona State University in 1969. All throughout her school years, she excelled in her studies and worked hard towards success. Sally was a member of the choir in high school and college, and she performed in several theatrical plays. She also participated on the student council and the religious council, and she was involved in the National Honor Society. Sally was a member of Phi Theta Kappa as well. She would go on to teach elementary school for the next seven years.

New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Sally as she met the man who would soon become the love of her life. His name was Doug Mortenson, and their worlds first collided when they were infants in Spokane, Washington. Their two families remained very close, even after the Person family moved. In 1961, Sally and Doug reunited and began dating. Over the next year, their relationship blossomed into something truly special. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Sally and Doug were married by Sally’s father on June 30, 1962 at North Park Covenant Church in Chicago. The newlyweds then settled down in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where Doug was stationed in the military, to begin their future together.

All who knew Sally can certainly agree that, of all the things she loved in life, she treasured her family above all else. She and Doug were overjoyed to welcome their two children, Kirk and Kristi, into their hearts and home. Sally thrived in her role as a mother and was very involved in the lives of her children. She was Kirk and Kristi’s biggest supporter in all that they did, and she cherished each and every moment with them. Later in life, Sally was thrilled to become a grandmother and even a great-grandmother as well. She adored her grandchildren and doted on them whenever she could. Sally always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.

From a young age, Sally’s faith formed the unshakeable foundation of her life. After she and Doug were married, they began attending Squaw Peak Covenant in Phoenix, Arizona. Once they moved to Michigan, they attended First Covenant Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan, then became charter members of Thornapple Covenant Church. Sally could often be found volunteering for church events or singing in the choir. She decorated the Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, and she also served by planting flowers at Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp. Sally was an avid reader of her beloved Bible and other Bible study books.

Never one to sit still for long, Sally pursued many hobbies to stay busy in her free time. She enjoyed interior decorating, creating beautiful flower arrangements, and shopping, and she had an eye for fashion and was a skilled seamstress. Sally had a gift for hosting and entertaining. She was a talented pianist and singer. Cooking was one of her love languages, and Sally loved to can food and bake Swedish goods such as cardamom bread and cookies. The Mortenson family enjoyed traveling to Europe, Alaska, and Sweden. They also visited Disney and went on various cruises and skiing or boating trips with friends. The cottage and the Bible Camp on Portage Lake was the backdrop for many of Sally’s favorite memories. She enjoyed collecting items from her Swedish heritage, including Dala horses, fancy dishes and crystal, and Scandinavian teak furniture.

When reflecting on the life of Sally Mortenson, it is easy to see her commitment to serving others especially at church and at camp. She was well known for her hospitality, she made everyone feel welcome. Though she will be dearly missed, Sally leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry in her footsteps.

Sally Lou Mortenson (Person) went to be with the Lord the first day of March, 2024. Sally was the only child born to Louis and Brita Person on May 26, 1936 in Denver, Colorado. She was a lifelong member of the Covenant Church and delighted serving in various capacities throughout her life. Faith and family were important to her; she had the gift of hospitality.

Sally was a preacher’s kid, and her love for the Lord and other people served her well. Moving often during her youth conferred upon her the ability to find a friend anywhere, anytime and she delighted in striking up conversations with those around her. Her mother was born in Sweden and Sally always considered Sweden a home away from home.

On June 30, 1962, she was united in marriage to Doug Mortenson. Their family soon grew to four with the addition of Kirk in 1965, and Kristi in 1969.

Sally is survived by son Kirk and his wife Gail, and daughter Kristi and her husband Darrick Robbins. She was blessed with 5 grandchildren: Gretchen (Sam) Eldersveld, Grant (Betsy) Mortenson, Sarah (Seth) Swanson, Mason Robbins, and Jenna Robbins, along with 3 great-grandchildren, Charlotte and Peter Eldersveld and Phoebe Mortenson, who brought her great joy even in her final days.

She was preceded in death by her husband Doug, her parents Louis and Brita, and several schnauzers.

Visitation will be held at the Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Drive, NW in Grand Rapids from 3PM to 5PM Sunday March 17th. Memorial service at First Covenant Church in Grand Rapids, MI, 1933 Tremont Blvd, NW on Monday March 18th at 11AM. Gifts and donations can be made to Portage Lake Bible Camp in Onekama, MI to the Dining Hall Fund.

Portage Lake Covenant Bible Camp, Dining Hall Fund

4158 Camp Delight Rd. Onekama, MI 49675