IRON MOUNTAIN – Fred Blasius Mortel was born September 24, 1944 to Fred and Sue (Benko) Mortl of Iron Mountain. Earn the Endearing Childhood Nickname “Wow,” given to him by his twin sister, Judy, Fred grew up on the North Side in a small house on East Smith Street, with his parents, four sisters (Phylis, Mary Ann, Jean and Judy) and two brothers (Bob and Richard) and attended the Immaculate Catholic Church.
Fred enjoyed the extremely cold winters of the Upper Peninsula and always kept a fire going, making sure the temperature inside never dropped below 78 degrees.
At age 17, Fred was nearly arrested for unwittingly falsifying records when he enlisted in the United States Air Force as Fred B. Mortl. It was then that he discovered that his father had added a “e” to his last name on his birth certificate which established his legal name as Mortal. While Fred was always a comedian, the Air Force didn’t find it funny, and his last name officially became Mortal from then on.
Fred served from 1963 to 1967, primarily stationed at Amarillo Air Force Base in New Mexico as an aircraft maintenance flight mechanic, achieving the rank of Airman First Class. He earned Mach-Busters Club membership after breaking the sound barrier on the North American Super Saber, the world’s first fighter aircraft capable of supersonic speed in level flight.
After receiving an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 1967, Fred met his young wife, Lana (Maraccini), and the two were married at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on March 2, 1968. The young couple founded a family. while Fred worked at Lockheed Aircraft Company in Marietta, Ga.
Soon after, Fred attended college at Northeastern Technical Institute in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Northern Michigan University, then worked as a foreman at Khoury Manufacturing’s crude plant. He also spent several years driving trucks before having a long career with WB Thompson Co., as Bart Berg’s personal assistant.
Fred was a lifetime blood donor, donating over a dozen gallons to the American Red Cross. In retirement, Fred enjoyed chopping and storing wood; hunt white-tailed deer with his brothers, sons-in-law, grandchildren and nephews in the woods of the family hunting camp; play Wahoo marbles at the dining room table with the family; fishing with his grandsons in an undisclosed location on the Brule River; tending to his garden in order to protect his status of having the first ripe tomato in town; spend whole hours in his carpentry workshop; hunting morels and puffballs all year round; and spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren and many, many friends who knew him fondly as ” Dead. »
Children and dogs have always been drawn to Fred because of his friendly personality, terrific sense of humor and the mischievous twinkle that was always in his eyes.
Fred died on June 13, succumbing to COVID-19 at the age of 77. His devoted wife, who never left him during his courageous decade-long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and his beloved daughters, son and grandchildren were nearby as he passed.
Fred is survived by his beloved wife of 54 years, Lana; daughters, Annette (Kraig Walter) Wagner of Iron Mountain and Jennifer (Russ) Livingston of DeTour Village; son, Fred (Johanna) Mortel of Green Bay; four grandchildren, Chase (Deanna) Livingston, Devin (Caitlin) Livingston, Cameron Livingston and Kelsey Wagner; and great-granddaughter Ahri Livingston. He is also survived by his loving siblings, Phylis (Chuck) Williams of Norway, Mary Ann Anderson (Peter Behnke) of Green Bay, Judy (Don) Bouffiou of Franksville, Wisconsin, Bob (Monica) Mortel of Escanaba and Richard (Jan) Mortl of Escanaba, as well as several nieces and nephews.
Fred was predeceased by his parents, Fred and Sue Mortl, and his sister, Jean LaBelle.
There will be a visitation at Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home on Friday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. A memorial service will follow at noon at the funeral home, presided over by Fr. Joseph Gouin. The Uren-Cooper-Johnson American Legion Post 50 will perform military honors after the service. In honor of Fred, blue jeans are welcome in lieu of evening attire.
Condolences can be expressed to Fred Mortel’s family online at www.ernashfuneralhomes.com.
The family entrusted the arrangements to the Erickson-Rochon & Nash Funeral Home of Iron Mountain.