Gene Francis Mortensen Dec. 24, 1935 – Dec 24, 2023

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GENE FRANCIS MORTENSEN Dec. 24, 1935 – Dec 24, 2023

Gene Mortensen passed away peacefully on his 88th birthday, surrounded by his children, on December 24, 2023.

He was born in Albuquerque and attended St. Mary’s High School where he was a vital member of the football, basketball and track teams, while also lending his expert speaking skills, with wit and banter, to the high school speech team.

He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Chemistry, and during his time there, met the love of his life, Gail Gere. They were married in 1955 and lovingly raised six children together for 54 years until Gail’s death in 2010.

The family moved to Los Alamos, NM in 1968 when Gene began his career at Los Alamos National Laboratory as an analytical chemist. He remained there until his retirement in 1993.

He enthusiastically took part in community activities, which included coaching Little League and Gray Y sports, and supervising summer league basketball and various sporting events throughout the years. He also worked diligently to ensure the success of the family business, Tony’s Pizza, from 1988-98.

Gene’s true passion was broadcasting. He began announcing little league baseball games in 1979 and never looked back! He slowly gained recognition as his baritone voice carried throughout Lou Caveglia field night after night. Over time, he served as PA announcer for Los Alamos High School sports, sports broadcaster for KRSN radio and the Los Alamos Daily Post, and PA announcer for the New Mexico Activities Association covering state tournament games for basketball, volleyball, soccer and tennis. He was intensely invested in his love for high school sports and traveled throughout New Mexico to promote and represent all Los Alamos High School athletics. He was one of the first in the state to announce girls’ sports, including basketball, volleyball, soccer and softball.

Gene was inducted into the New Mexico Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2010, and twice earned the NMBA Excellence in Broadcasting Award in 2013 and 2020. He is a member of the Los Alamos Sports Hall of Fame and was honored as a beloved Living Treasure of Los Alamos in 2014.

Blessed with a heart of gold, Gene was a superhero as a father and husband, serving as coach, cheerleader, best friend, and mentor. He loved life and lived with a childlike desire to have a blast every day! Funny, witty, and incredibly intelligent, Gene was a master at storytelling. It seemed he could recite details of any play of any game dating back to the fifties, and he certainly did … many, many times!

Gene’s kindness and wisdom were key to the comfort and joy he brought to so many who knew him. And as an avid dog lover, he raised several beloved companions throughout his life. The most recent is Warren, who fervently protected him with loving care to the end.

He is now back with his Sweetie Pie, Gail, and his signature radio broadcasting sign off will forever live in our hearts:

“Put a little love in your heart, don’t forget to hug that penguin, and just be excellent to each other!”

Gene was preceded in death by his beloved wife Gail (Gere), parents Alvin Norman and Lucille (Hall) and brothers Norman ll and Robert.

He is survived by his children Larry, Debbie Katko and husband Mike, Russ, Tammy Quillmann, Dean and wife Ruth, and Kent; grandchildren Kristin, Brian, Kristofer, Scott, Craig, Trevor, Cory and Kyle; great grandchildren Logan and Dawson; brother Harley, sister Mary Diecker; and his lovingly inherited three “adopted” sons, Jaiya John, Mike Hannaford and Dan Guevara.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on February 10, 2024, at the Los Alamos Christian Church.

Please visit www.riverafamilyfuneralhome.com to leave pictures, messages, and stories about Gene’s life for the family to cherish.