Loren Dale “Mort” Mortenson
“Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.”
– Sam Walter Foss
MADISON – Loren Dale “Mort” Mortenson, age 83, passed away on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at Agrace HospiceCare, in Fitchburg, Wis., surrounded by his loving family and close friends. “Mort” was born April 10, 1939, in Brooten, Minn., the son of Bert F. and Pauline C. Mortenson. He graduated from Washington Park High School in Racine, Wis., in 1957, and as a young man served in the U.S. Navy. He graduated with an economics degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1966. Loren was a Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI).
On Aug. 25, 1962, Loren married M. Jaye Staab. Loren and M. Jaye raised their three children, Jay (1966), Jenna (1968) and Joelle (1969), in Madison. M. Jaye Mortenson died June 19, 1990, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. On Nov. 29, 2003, Loren married Barbara J. “Boo” Henderson, and added stepsons, Christopher, Grant, and Ryan to his family.
Loren was an extrovert and the life of every room he walked through. It often took him more than 15 minutes to cross the dining room at Maple Bluff Country Club because he greeted and said, “hello,” to every person present. He had a supercharged zest for life and was a force of nature. The world was a stage for his booming laughter and sparkling personality. His stories often turned into song and dance performances, and he closed each gathering with a rousing rendition of “Happy Trails” that had everyone singing along.
Mort was a lifelong businessman and entrepreneur. He began selling insurance while he was still in college. In 1968, he founded an independent insurance agency. It began as Loren D. Mortenson & Associates, became Mortenson, Matzelle & Meldrum, and is today known as M3 Insurance Solutions. Loren served as Chairman of the Board of M3 and its predecessors for over 30 years. M3 is currently one of the top 50 insurance brokerage firms in America, employing hundreds and serving thousands. Mort considered it a privilege to be a part of the M3 family and business team, stating, “What it has become is beyond my imagining.” One of Mort’s favorite traditions was the annual M3 holiday party at Maple Bluff Country Club, where clients, colleagues, and friends gathered to celebrate the joy of the season.
In 1995, Mort sold his majority interest in Mortenson, Matzelle & Meldrum to a group of key employees and shifted his focus to commercial real estate. He formed Mortenson Investment Group, and expanded his real estate holdings, especially on Madison’s Central Beltline. That company continues today as MIG Commercial Real Estate, LLC. Loren’s business accomplishments and impact extend far beyond his own businesses, through his mentoring and support of many entrepreneurs and other businesspeople in our community. He served on the boards of Metropolitan National Bank, Inacom/More Than Computers, Inc., First Business Financial Services, Inc., Ideal Builders, Inc., Auto Glass Specialists, and many other companies. He was a member of a group led by Jim Fitzgerald, Sr. and Don Nelson that owned the Golden State Warriors from 1986 to 1995.
Loren believed in spirituality, community, and philanthropy. He placed a high value on love, respect, loyalty, and commitment. At his core, Loren was wise, sensitive, and caring. Through his actions, he demonstrated his humility and deep empathy for others. He believed that the adversity he faced was an element he could use to transform himself into a better human being.
For over 40 years (and still going), Loren and a small group of his Christian brothers came together weekly to share their life’s journeys and nurture and grow their friendships and faith.
Mort believed in being involved in the community and in generously sharing his success. He developed many deep relationships over the years with businesses. Mort served in many leadership capacities in the community, including being President and a Director of the Capital Times Kids’ Fund, Director of United Way of Dane County, Director of Young Life of Dane County, and President of the Maple Bluff Country Club.
As a philanthropist, he especially appreciated the joy of giving! He was often heard saying, “Give back to dem that brung ya.” The Mortenson Family Foundation was created to support both new initiatives and ongoing needs of the community, initially through the United Way of Dane County, Tocqueville Society, and expanded to provide support to meet other community needs including Agrace Hospice, Bascom Hill Society, Madison Literacy Council and many more.
Through their shared passion for the mission and work of Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), Mort and Boo gave major gifts to DAIS that enabled the construction of the Boo & Loren Mortenson Center for Hope and Safety, a domestic abuse shelter on Madison’s Northeast side.
To expand his reach in helping others, Loren recruited local colleagues and friends to serve as “Mort’s Angels.” For the past 25 years, it was his favorite annual tradition to call his angels together to provide them with funds to help others in need. The recipients of his generosity were often people Loren did not know–and would likely never meet. The angels would share their personal stories of the lives that were, in turn, “touched by an angel.” What began as a local outreach expanded beyond his highest hopes with ripple effects to the entire global community.
Mort is survived by his wife, Boo; sister, Suzanne Kleinschmidt (Chuck); son, Jay (Karen) Mortenson; daughter, Joelle Hutter (Clay Tyler); stepson, Christopher (Jennifer) Henderson; stepson, Grant (Kim) Henderson; stepson, Ryan Henderson (Rachel); former son-in-law, Dan Bouska (Jenny); niece, Jill Rochin (Dave); nephew, Brandt Kleinschmidt (Laura); grandchildren, Nina, Jay P., Mitchell, and Katrina Mortenson; Nathan (Casey), Martin J. (Amber), Phillip, Carley and Ethan Bouska; Lauren and Grace Hutter; Maddox, Ella and Will Henderson; and Colin and Sloan Henderson; and great-granddaughter, Juniper Jenna. He was preceded in death by his brother, Robert Allen Mortenson (1976); his first wife, M. Jaye Mortenson (1990); his daughter, Jenna Mortenson Bouska (1997); his parents, Bert F. Mortenson (1997) and Pauline C. Mortenson (2002); and his brother-in-law, Charles B. Kleinschmidt (2016).
Throughout his life, Loren maintained a constant sense of gratitude. He lived with grace and shared his blessings with countless others. He embraced challenges and turned them into opportunities.
Loren was future focused, facing each new day with wonder, curiosity, and enthusiasm. He showed genuine interest in everyone he met. He saw the good in others, recognized their potential, and he always encouraged others to be bold in the pursuit of their goals. He shared his philosophy of “don’t let things happen, make it happen.” As he fulfilled many of his own dreams for making a better future, he mentored and inspired others to do the same.
Loren made something positive and meaningful out of each of life’s adventures. He hoped his accomplishments would be viewed in the context of learning from life’s lessons as building blocks of the heart.
Loren shared that when the time would come for him to leave this earth, he would have no sadness, because how he lived his life is a way for him to continue to share his dreams and pass them on to future generations. He wanted to be remembered for the things of the heart, because that’s how love lives on.
Loren’s powerful legacy of gratitude, giving, and sharing is an inspiration to all of us who were fortunate to have Loren a part of our lives as family, colleagues, and friends. Loren’s legacy is best defined by his own example of how to live a life filled with hope, optimism, and fulfilling life’s dreams–while at the same time abundantly sharing with others through a constant sense of gratitude and humility. He wanted his children, grandchildren, and friends to know how much they meant to him. Most of all, he loved his family.
You did much more than build successful businesses – you built up the people around you. You captivated us with your humor and humbled us with your kindness. Thank you, Loren.
A “Celebration of Life” will be held to honor Loren’s life and legacy at MAPLE BLUFF COUNTRY CLUB, 500 Kensington Drive, Madison, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Remembrances will begin at 5:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please honor Mort’s memory, and Boo’s dedication, through Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS), https://abuseintervention.org, 2102 Fordem Ave., Madison, WI 53704.
The family wishes to thank Dr. John Phelan and the doctors at St. Mary’s Hospital and the nursing staff and caregivers at Agrace HospiceCare. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
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